A Personal Representative Can be Removed by Petition in a Formal or informal Probate. Minn. Stat. § 524.3-611.

In re the Estate of: Duane Francis Strub, Deceased, __ N.W.2d ___, (Minn.Ct.App. 2018). The probate registrar appointed two persons as personal representative of the estate in an informal proceeding. After an estate beneficiary became frustrated with the conduct of the personal representatives, the beneficiary filed a formal petition to remove the personal representatives. The court removed the personal representatives and ordered the parties to find a new personal representative that would tend to some specific administration issues. The removed personal representatives appealed. They argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to remove the personal representative if there was not a formal probate. They cite to Minn. Stat. § 524.3-302 that formal testacy proceedings are needed to alter an informal probate. But the court points out that there is a difference between testacy proceedings and appointment proceedings and in this case they sought an order to alter an appointment, not a probate. Therefore under Section 3-301 an informal probate appointment can be modified by a formal proceeding. Also, Minn. Stat. § 524.3-611 does not make any distinction between formal and informal proceedings so a petition under that section to remove a personal representative may be invoked for any acting personal representative, formal or informal. In summary, the statutes requiring a formal probate to formally probate a will does not apply to the removal of a personal representative. The personal representative removal action may be accomplished by petition for a formal or informal probate.

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