In the state of Minnesota, the determination of a personal representative of an estate often involves Priority of Appointment. In simple terms, priority recognizes a person’s status, which can be used as a guide by the courts in the determination of the representative. However, holding the highest priority does not guarantee that an individual will be appointed as the representative. If you are part of a probate process that involves priority of appointment dispute, our attorneys are here to help.
Priority of Appointment
During probate in Minnesota, either the District Court Judge or the Probate Registrar will ultimately have the responsibility for appointing the personal representative of the estate. It is a common Minnesota probate practice to consider priority of appointment during this process. Whether the probate is formal or informal, any individuals who are not disqualified from being the representative will have priority of appointment based on a set of criteria established by the state. The order of priority is as follows:
- A person identified as a Personal Representative by a valid and verified Will;
- A decedent’s surviving spouse who is a qualified devisee;
- Other devisees of the decedent;
- A decedent’s surviving spouse (not specifically identified as a devisee);
- Other heirs of the decedent;
- Any creditor of the decedent (45 days after the death of the decedent); and
- Any conservator of the decedent (at least 90 days after the death of the decedent)
In some cases, individuals will share priority. No matter what the situation, the courts will ultimately make the appointment on behalf of the decedent.
Holding the highest priority does not necessarily guarantee an individual will be appointed the personal representative. There are many factors that the District Court Judge or Probate Registrar may consider before naming the personal representative. These factors may include an individual’s willingness to serve in the role, or a person’s ability to handle the tasks. Ultimately, the Judge or Registrar will appoint the individual most qualified to act in the best interests of the decedent. Oftentimes, the Judge or Registrar upholds any appointment of Personal Representative established by a Will, but this is not always the case.
It is possible for an individual to object to the appointment of a Personal Representative. When this happens, the order of priority will apply. There are also cases when a person may transfer his or her priority as a personal representative to another qualified individual. Ultimately, there are many factors and potential complications involved in priority of appointment, which is why it is usually best to consult with a qualified attorney during the process.
No matter what your priority of appointment, the probate process can be confusing. Luckily, our lawyers are here to help you understand your options. We have led many people through this process, and we are happy to assist you. Contact our probate attorneys today at 763-323-6555. We always provide a free consultation.