Expenses include the cost of disposition of the deceased’s remains whether a body burial or cremation is performed, plus the costs of any associated memorial or celebration-of-life ceremony.
Costs also include the purchase of certified copies of the deceased’s death certificate, which is an official documentation of the deceased’s death. The death certificate may be required to claim life insurance and military benefits, to gain access to the deceased’s financial accounts, to transfer the deceased’s real estate, and to present to the Minnesota county court if probate is necessary. Typically, the funeral home handling the deceased’s body will order the death certificates for you from the Minnesota Department of Health.
Fees for the services provided by a Minnesota attorney who is assisting in settling the estate are typically charged by the hour. Similarly, fees for accounting services are also likely incurred and depend on the time required. Potential income tax returns include a return that covers the time from Jan. 1 through the deceased’s date of death, and an income tax return for the estate if sufficient income is earned by the estate prior to the distribution of assets from the estate.
If the deceased owned real estate, attorney and county recording fees are incurred to transfer the deceased’s interest in the real estate either to the deceased’s beneficiaries or to an outside buyer.
If probate is required, expect court filing fees. Probate is the court process for settling an estate. Probate is required in Minnesota if the deceased owned real estate in the deceased’s name alone, or if the deceased owned $75,000 or more in probate assets in the deceased’s name alone. Note that not all assets are probate assets.
When probate is required, the estate also incurs publication fees for the publication of legal notice of the death and the notice to possible creditors.
Also, under Minnesota law, the person acting as Personal Representative of the estate may collect fees for his or her services.
Has a surprise popped up? Fighting? If so, the time and expense involved in settling the deceased’s estate will further increase.
Executing a well-thought-out estate and funeral plan before death may substantially reduce the costs – financial and emotional – of settling an estate. And, it may help you settle the estate without triggering a probate action.
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