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IV. Special Administration

A special administration is a probate proceeding used when prompt action is necessary to protect and preserve a decedent's assets before a personal representative can be appointed, or when a personal representative cannot act. A special administrator is appointed to collect, manage, and preserve estate assets. To accomplish these duties, the special administrator has all the powers of a general personal representative.

A. Who can be a special administrator?

If there is no will, any person deemed proper upon petition may be appointed as special administrator. If there is a will and the estate has yet to appoint a personal representative, the person named in the will as personal representative must be named as special administrator if he or she is available and qualified.

B. How is a special administrator appointed?

Like any other probate proceeding, a special administration can be informal or formal. A probate registrar informally appoints a special administrator upon application when it is “necessary to protect the estate of the decedent.” See Minnesota Statutes, section 524.3-614, clause (1).

There is no notice requirement for appointment of an informal special administrator. But if no emergency exists, the court may require proper notice and a hearing for appointment of a special administrator. The notice must meet the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, section 524.1-401.

The court formally appoints a special administrator by holding a hearing to determine whether appointment is “necessary to preserve the estate or secure its proper administration.” See Minnesota Statutes, section 524.3-614, clause (2).

If an emergency exists, the court may alter or waive notice requirements. A formally appointed special administrator may also be appointed to act if a personal representative who has already been appointed cannot or should not act (e.g., there is a conflict of interest).

C. How do local agencies respond to a special administration?

If you receive notice that a special administrator has been appointed to administer assets in an estate subject to an MA claim, file a written statement of claim to ensure recognition.

D. When does a special administration end?

A special administration ends when a personal representative is appointed. A special administrator’s appointment also ends upon the special administrator’s death or disability, written resignation, or removal for cause.

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