Being the executor or personal representative of a Minnesota estate after a person dies is an important fiduciary responsibility. Even though adult children may not want to fill this role, they should still be aware of how the probate process is progressing, and whether there are any red flags.
According to the Minnesota Statutes, the personal representative has the duty to act as any prudent person would in the role of administering the duties of the estate, including paying debts and distributing assets. This must be done according to the wishes of the deceased as laid out in the will, as well as through following Minnesota probate law. If the personal representative was chosen because of particular knowledge or expertise in an area, such as finance, then he or she will be held to that professional standard.
Other responsibilities of the personal representative, according to FindLaw, include taking care of any properties during the probate process. For example, a home may need utilities or mortgage payments made, and there may also be a need for general maintenance or upkeep. If the property must be sold, the personal representative may be responsible for having an appraisal done to determine the fair market value before putting the home on the market and overseeing the sale.
A personal representative and any professionals who must be involved in the probate process, including attorneys, appraisers, accountants and others, must be paid out of the proceeds of the estate. However, they may not charge more than what the courts deem to be a reasonable fee for these duties.
Once all the taxes, debts and fees have been covered, the personal representative must distribute the remaining assets to the heirs according to the provisions of the will.