Paying for Probate

ProbateWhen you are dealing with the death of your family member or loved one, you are likely dealing with a wide variety of troubling problems, ranging from emotional turmoil to logistical issues.  If you are trying to help handle your loved one’s estate, you are likely facing issues about how to make sure the estate’s debts and costs of probate are properly paid.  Especially if you are the personal representative, it is essential to understand how probate is paid for.

Probate is the process by which the personal representative will gather the estate’s assets, pay allowable debts, and distribute any remaining assets to the named beneficiaries of the will or pursuant to the laws of intestacy if there is no will.  Like everything else, probate is not free.  There are filing fees and fees for the personal representative.  There are also other costs that are essential for the deceased, such as reasonable costs for the funeral.  Minnesota law provides that particular costs of probate will be paid directly from the estate.

Minnesota has a specific list of debts that will be paid from the estate, and the list is particular about which order those debts will be paid.  First on the list is the cost of administering the estate, including court costs, attorney’s fees, and other similar costs.  This means that the first costs to be taken from the estate will be those costs specifically required to administer the estate and complete probate.  Reasonable funeral expenses are next on the list.  Personal administrators need to understand, however, that the estate will not be responsible for any expenses that a personal representative deems is appropriate to run up or pay.  The law provides that reasonable expenses will be paid from the estate.  What is deemed “reasonable” can, of course, vary depending on location and the size of the estate.  Reasonable attorney’s fees to administer an estate with a total value of $10,000 will be much lower than administering an estate with a net value of seven figures.  Only after the court costs, attorney’s fees, and funeral expenses have been paid will other approved debts be paid in order of priority.

Call us today at 651-371-9117 for a consultation.  We have extensive experience concerning estate planning and estate administration.