Special Administrators and Probate

The legal process often has a lot of deadlines and waiting periods.  Probate is no exception to this.  As with other legal proceedings, it is rare that the case will move quickly.  However, there may be times when it is necessary to quickly as there are some issues that cannot wait for the normal waiting periods to pass by.  In such a case, a special administrator may need to be selected.

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Minnesota statute 524.3-614 provides the situations during which a special administrator may be appointed during a probate case.  The statute provides that any interested person can ask for the appointment of a special administrator where it is necessary to properly protect the estate of the decedent or “to secure its proper administration including its administration in circumstances where a general personal representative cannot or should not act.”  The statute lays out the different situations that make this possible, but the typical reason to appoint a special administrator would be an emergency situation.

The process for appointing a special administrator varies depending on whether the probate is informal or formal.  In informal probate, the registrar can informally appoint the special administrator.  In those cases, no notice must be sent before the special administrator is appointed, but notice may be sent if no emergency exists. In a formal probate case, the court must appoint the special administrator.  The court will hold a hearing to determine whether appointing a special administrator is “necessary to preserve the estate or secure its proper administration.”  In an emergency situation, the court may waive the notice requirement or alter them.  Furthermore, if the personal representative cannot act on a certain issue due to a conflict of interest, a special administrator will need to be appointed to handle it.

When the special administrator is appointed to protect the estate, the special administrator is authorized to search for estate assets, collect and manage the assets, and hold the assets until a personal representative can be properly appointed.  The special administrator will then deliver the estate assets to the personal representative.

In should be noted that the special administrator will need to post a bond before serving.  The bond may be set at a minimum if the amount of assets is unknown.

Every probate case is unique.  We have experience helping our clients navigate the probate process.  Call us today at (651) 371-9117 let us help you.

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