Minnesota Probate | How does the personal representative pay bills?

Minnesota Probate Law  Payment of DebtsAccording to Minnesota probate law, personal representatives (executors) of estates must pay the bills of their loves one’s estate in the proper fashion.

What is the proper fashion?

The answer is given by Minnesota Statute 524.3-805 “Classification of Claims”.

Minnesota probate law | Classification of Claims

In essence, that statute tells us that when the money of the estate is insufficient to pay all people to whom the deceased person owed money to, the personal representative of the estate must make payments in the following order:

  1. the costs and expenses of administering the estate (including court fees, attorney fees, accounting fees, etc.)
  2. the reasonable funeral expenses
  3. the debts and taxes with preference under federal law
  4. the reasonable and necessary medical, hospital, or nursing home expenses associated with the last illness of the deceased person (including all medical assistance claims by the county or state)
  5. the reasonable and necessary medical, hospital, and nursing home expenses for the care of the deaceased person during the year immediately before death
  6. the debts with preference under Minnesota law, and state taxes
  7. all other claims against the estate

That is the priority order and it must be followed.

If the personal representative (executor) fails to pay the expenses of the estate in that order, he or she could be held personally liable for not running the estate correctly.

Furthermore, the law states that there shall be no preference for payment outside the above list other than the personal representative should pay claims as they see fit and as they are owed or made “due”.  Claims that are not “due” should not be paid.

Minnesota probate law | What should you do if you are unsure?

In a nutshell, if you are confused in any way about how claims and expenses should be paid, you should speak with a qualified Minnesota probate attorney immediately.

Failing to speak with an attorney can lead to potential personal liability of the personal representative for failure to follow the law.

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