Choosing to become an executor, now called a “personal representative,” for someone’s last will and testament can entail a lot of responsibility, depending on the complexity of that person’s estate. If the majority of the estate is subject to Minnesota probate proceedings, you want to understand the details of this process, as you will be in charge through to its completion.

Be sure you know what your responsibilities will be as a personal representative. If you think some of these tasks might be over your head, you can hire a lawyer to help you through each step.

Take inventory of all assets subject to probate and have them appraised if necessary

You should complete inventory either within six months of your official appointment or within nine months of the person’s death. This list must include the assets, their value and remaining debts so the parties who request this list know what to expect.

Protect the assets from theft or damage

Once the court officially appoints you to your position, you have the right to take possession of everything in the estate. This does not have to be physical possession, but you must secure items, change locks to homes and maintain insurance policies.

Pay off all remaining debt

You must pay off all debts, expenses and taxes before distribution may happen, even if that requires selling some of the assets. After you inform all creditors, they have four months to respond. The estate must also cover other fees, including medical bills, funeral costs and attorney fees.

Make a detailed record of everything that has occurred

You should document every transaction that occurs throughout probate. In some cases, the court requires you to file a Final Account. When this is not required, it is still a good idea to complete it to protect yourself.

Oversee the distribution of the remaining assets

Using the will and any other relevant state laws, you will commence asset distribution to the named beneficiaries.

Minnesota law allows for both formal probate proceedings, when you have a hearing in front of a judge, as well as informal proceedings for less complicated estates. Speaking with an experienced estate attorney can help you determine how to carry out any of these duties as a personal representative.