Asset Distribution and Closing the Probate

In Minnesota, probates are required to remain open for at least four months to allow certain creditors to make claims. However, once this time period has expired and assets have been gathered, claims settled, property sold that will not be distributed, taxes paid and returns filed, and other matters resolved, the property may be distributed and the probate closed. Because of the nature of these things, it may take much longer than four months to accomplish these objectives. The procedures for the distribution of probate assets vary depending on the type of probate proceeding and may even require court approval.

The type of probate asset involved will determine the method of distribution. For example, where real estate is involved, deeds and other documents will need to be recorded in the county records. After distributing the property pursuant to a court order, if required, or under the terms of the will or state statute, the probate may be closed. Closing the probate may be as simple as filing a statement to close the probate with the court. Once the personal representative has filed this statement, the estate is essentially closed. The personal representative’s appointment automatically terminates one year after the statement is filed. This allows the personal representative to act in that capacity should it be necessary during that time. In other instances, more formal procedures must be followed which could include a court hearing and judicial review of the acts of the personal representative. In these situations, the court issues an order discharging the personal representative and the estate is immediately closed.

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