Law Articles

How Long Does a Personal Representative Have to Settle an Estate in Minnesota?

Many Minnesotans wonder how long the estate settlement process will take. While there’s no formal deadline, the actual time varies widely based on the complications within the estate. In some situations, Minnesota probate may take no more than four months to conclude from commencement; in others, more than a year. Due to the probate court’s involvement, some of the time issues may be beyond your control. This post explains some of the reasons why settling an estate could be delayed.

Location of the Parties in a Minnesota Estate

Where a personal representative (executor) of an estate lives can affect how long it takes to move through probate. Some documents must still be provided in the original and if the personal representative lives far from where the probate estate is being handled, the process can take longer for that reason.

Number of Beneficiaries in a Minnesota Estate

Simply put, the more people involved, the longer the process will take. The attorney representing the personal representative must send documents to all parties for signatures, which then must be returned to the attorney or the court. The more back and forth required, the longer things will take. Keep in mind that the more beneficiaries involved, the higher the chance for conflict as well and conflict always results in more time.

Wills and Validity

If the deceased did not leave a will, a longer wait may also result. The court may be more involved – a judge or other judicial officer will appoint a personal representative, and Minnesota law will determine estate distribution. If there is a will, any beneficiary can attempt to contest it and that will open an entirely new and lengthy process to verify the will’s validity.

A Taxable Estate

Before distribution occurs, there needs to be an assessment of whether or not the estate is taxable. If it is, it cannot be closed until the IRS offers a specific letter approving closure. State taxes can also slow things down. However, there will not be a taxable estate unless the size of the estate exceeds $3,000,000.00. Even then, there may be no tax if proper estate planning was done.

How to Avoid Minnesota Probate

Working with a Minnesota probate attorney can help expedite the process during what’s usually an overwhelming and difficult time. An experienced attorney can work with you to ensure that your assets go into a living trust or another arrangement so that they’ll automatically be passed to your surviving beneficiaries (bypassing probate).


John Waldron of Waldron Law Offices, Ltd. is an experienced leader in probate and estate matters and prides himself on helping families across the State of Minnesota. Call (952) 471-0940 to learn more and schedule a free consultation.

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