Preparing for the future through an estate plan and a will are great ways to ensure your wishes are followed and your estate is settled.  When creating your plan, you will have to select individuals, like an executor of an estate, to work on your behalf.

What is an Executor of an Estate?

An executor of your estate, also known as a “personal representative,” is an individual who you give the power to manage your estate pursuant to your will. This may include tasks such as settling your estate, paying taxes or creditors, and distributing assets. In most wills, it is common to include one executor and one successor executor. A successor or alternate executor is a “back-up” in the instance your primary executor is unable to preform their duties or passes away.

How do I Pick an Executor?

Minnesota law does not have many restrictions on who can serve as an executor within a will. State law does require the executor to be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind.  It is very common for a person to name a family member as an executor. This may include a spouse, child, sibling, or perhaps a close friend.

Minnesota does not have a provision regarding residency for an executor. This means you do not have to choose a party who lives in the same state as you. However, if your primary residence is in Minnesota at the time of your death, your estate will proceed through probate in Minnesota courts. For out of state executors, this is something to keep in mind.

While you want to select executors who are responsible and trusted, they do not have to have prior knowledge about estates or probate. The executor is in charge of settling your estate but they do not have to do it alone. They can seek the assistance of an attorney and your estate will generally pay the legal fees.

If you have questions about your estate plan, contact our office today. We can help you create a plan that is specific to your unique situation. Contact our estate planning attorneys today at (763) 323-6555 or by submitting a contact inquiry request on our website. We look forward to speaking with you.

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Photo of Cynthia J. Brown Cynthia J. Brown

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served…

Cynthia Brown is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is an honors graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. Cynthia was admitted to practice in 1998.

After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003.

Cynthia has handled a wide variety of family law matters throughout Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child protective services, orders for protection and harassment restraining orders.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor, public defender and criminal investigator. In addition to her family practice, Cynthia routinely represents clients facing criminal charges such as DWI, assault, theft and criminal sexual misconduct.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, ATV riding and spending time with family.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Child Protective Services
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Bar Admission
  • Minnesota State Bar, 1998
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 1998
  • University of South Dakota, 1995
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Panel Attorney, Anoka County County Family Law Clinic
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper
  • Author, Family Law Forum
  • Author, Divorce Magazine