When an individual with a stake in Missouri real estate passes away, the probate process will be necessary to distribute the real estate. During probate, the legal instrument facilitating the transfer of the property to either a buyer or beneficiary is known as a Personal Representative Deed. This document includes the necessary information regarding the specific probate estate and the associated property transfer.
Timeline for Estate Settlement by Personal Representatives:
The duration required to settle an estate varies for each case. A straightforward estate with a few easily identifiable assets might conclude within six to eight months, while more intricate estates could extend from a year to several years for full resolution. In Missouri, the probate process must include a creditor period with a minimum duration of six months.
Compensation for Personal Representatives:
Typically, a Personal Representative is entitled to compensation for their services, and this is usually mentioned in the decedent’s Will. Some opt for a capped fee, while others authorize reasonable fees based on state law. Alternatively, individuals may choose to grant their Personal Representative a specific bequest instead of a fee, with bequests being non-taxable compared to taxable fees.
Petitioning to Become a Personal Representative:
In the absence of a Will, the court appoints someone to handle the deceased individual’s affairs. If a named Personal Representative in a Will deems themselves unfit for the demanding task, certain states necessitate a court petition for removal, enabling another person to assume the role.
Challenges to the Appointment of Personal Representatives:
Beneficiaries hold the right to contest a Will and object to the appointed Personal Representative. This may lead to a legal proceeding where a judge determines the rightful Personal Representative, either upholding the original choice or selecting a nominee proposed by the beneficiaries.
Legal Actions Against a Personal Representative:
Interested parties can petition the probate court for the removal of a Personal Representative or request a formal, supervised administration. Additionally, a petitioner may seek a temporary restraining order to halt specific actions by the Personal Representative.
For Further Guidance:
If you are contemplating the selection of a Personal Representative or have been appointed as one, we can assist you in understanding your responsibilities and navigating the probate process. Contact our office for a probate advisory meeting to gain insights into the expectations when serving as the estate’s Personal Representative.