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How Much Does It Cost to Settle an Estate?

How much does it cost to settle an Estate? The realistic, but unsatisfying, answer is: “It depends”.

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.

©2019 Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This Blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, please seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where you live. Wittenburg Law does not expressly or implicitly warrant the accuracy or reliability of any of the Blog’s contents. An attorney-client relationship is not formed by reading this Blog. If you are interested in Wittenburg Law’s representation of you, you must contact Wittenburg Law for a determination of whether your matter is one for which Wittenburg Law is willing and able to accept representation of you.

Bonnie Wittenburg, Wittenburg Law Office, PLLC, 601 Carlson Parkway, Suite 1050, Minnetonka, MN 55305 952-649-9771    bonnie@bwittenburglaw.com   www.bwittenburglaw.com

 

Should Family Pay the Deceased’s Bills?

Careful! It may be best to pause before paying bills of the deceased.

It’s important to first know what the assets of the estate are, and what claims are being made against those assets. Is the estate solvent? If not, Minnesota law sets out a priority list for paying creditors. The creditors at the bottom of the priority list may not receive anything. » Read more..

Can I Disinherit My Spouse?

You can’t disinherit your Minnesota spouse unless he or she signed away those rights in a validly executed pre-nup or post-nup agreement.

Otherwise, even if you specifically omit your spouse in your Will, your surviving spouse has up to 9 months after your death to “elect against the Will” and seek the surviving spouse’s so-called “elective share”.

Calculating the elective share is a complicated process, but generally and loosely speaking, the Court looks at the combined assets of the deceased and surviving spouse. The Court then applies a certain percentage against that number for the award to the surviving spouse. The size of the percentage varies based on the number of years of marriage. The percentages start at 3% for one year of marriage. The maximum percentage is 50% for 15 or more years of marriage. » Read more..

Why Not Write Your Own Obituary?

Writing your own obituary has several advantages, doesn’t it?

By writing your own obituary, you spare your grieving family the burden of trying to write one within the few days between your death and funeral or memorial service. And, you also influence what you want people to remember about you.

Obituaries are perhaps the one newspaper item that tends to be kept through the ages. Obituaries are sometimes pasted inside the cover of the family Bible, or kept in a family scrapbook. They are a much beloved resource for persons doing genealogy research. » Read more..