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Conservator Powers Relating to Real Estate

Minnesota Conservatorship Law

A conservator in Minnesota, on the authority of the court, has the power to sell, mortgage, or lease real property of a protected person. The court, on its own, may order a real property transaction to satisfy debts or other claims against the estate and to provide funds to care for dependents of the protected person. Guardians without conservator powers cannot conduct property transactions.

If the protected person is married, then the spouse must give written consent to the transaction.

If the court is petitioned by the conservator, then a hearing will be held to determine the proper disposition of the property. The conservator must notify all interested persons of the hearing, so that anyone who wishes to challenge the transaction may have a chance to do so. Sometimes, the court will require notice of the hearing to be published in a legal newspaper.

At the hearing, the court can proceed how it sees fit. The court may choose to sell, mortgage, or lease all or part of the property, but only to the extent that the property is described in the petition. For example, if the protected person has property in Hennepin County, but the conservator only petitions regarding the protected person’s property in Ramsey County, then the court will only be able to order the disposition of the Ramsey County property.

To illustrate where this might apply, let’s say that the estate does own property in both counties. And, let’s suppose the protected person has a daughter who likes the Ramsey County property but not the Hennepin County property. The daughter, as an interested person, might try to convince the court to sell the Hennepin County property instead. The court will only be able to adjudicate the disposition of the Ramsey County property. The court may choose not to sell the property, in which case, if there are debts that need to be paid, the conservator will likely have to re-petition to sell the Ramsey County property.

Form of the Property Transaction

The court has the power to order a cash transaction or a partial cash transaction. The court may also permit a contract for deed, where the buyer pays the seller in a seller-financed transaction in lieu of a third-party mortgage. Minnesota statutes provide for strict guidelines of how the sale must proceed and what the terms of the contract must be.

For example, the first payment must be at least ten percent of the total price. The interest rate (APR) must be at least four percent. The whole purchase price must be paid off within ten years. An attorney can help you to understand all of the contract requirements and ensure that they are included.

The court can order the sale to a specific party or by public auction, each of which has special rules under Minnesota conservatorship law. In a private sale, the property must be sold for a price determined by appraisals of two or more disinterested appraisers. To be disinterested, the appraisers generally are not related and have no interest in the disposition of the estate.

Buying Real Estate

A conservator in Minnesota may also purchase real property on behalf of the estate in certain circumstances. The conservator owes a duty to manage the estate in its best interest, and the best interest of the estate might be to buy more property. If the estate has the right to buy property, the conservator may be able to sell that right, again if it is in the estate’s best interest.

Developing Real Estate

The conservator, by approval and order of the court, may subdivide the estate’s property for development.

As you can see from even this brief overview of this subset of conservator powers, the conservatorship laws can be complicated. If you need a lawyer for advice, guidance, or representation, please feel free to contact me, a Minnesota conservatorship lawyer.


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Service Areas: I am willing to represent clients throughout Minnesota, including Aitkin County, Becker County, Carlton County, Dakota County, Faribault County, Goodhue County, Hennepin County, Isanti County, Jackson County, or Kanabec County, just to name a few. Whether you are in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, or Bagley, Grand Marais, Windom, Brainerd, Hastings, Mantorville, Alexandria, Blue Earth, Preston, or Albert Lea, I will represent you.