Settlement Agreement is enforced even when formal agreement is not finalized.

Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding is an Enforceable Agreement, Minn. Stat. § 572.35 Subd. (1)1, and Personal Representative could settle the claim under Minn. Stat. § 524.3-715(27) without satisfying Minn. Stat. § 524.3-912 even when settlement altered distributions of estate. Estate of: Steven C. Kukowski, Decedent, A18-0217 August 27, 2018. Mom died and her estate was opened. After mom died, her son, Steven died. Mom’s estate sought to recover about $200,000 from Steven’s estate. It alleges Steven took many guns, a boat, motor, diamond ring, Indian Artifacts and other items from their mother before she died. The mother’s estate and Steven’s estate entered into a mediated settlement agreement. The agreement explicitly laid out several binding points in the memorandum of understanding and specifically said the agreement was binding although it did acknowledge that other details would be finalized in a separate agreement. The parties could not get to a final separate agreement. Steven’s estate returned much of the property but did not complete all terms of the contract. Steven’s estate sued to enforce the agreement. First, the court noted that this is a valid agreement under Minn. Stat. § 572.35 Subd. (1)1. The terms of the memorandum of understanding were sufficient enough to be enforceable. One of the heirs to the mother’s estate continued to object arguing that she was not a party to the settlement agreement so it is not enforceable under Minn. Stat. § 524.3-912. The court noted that this was an agreement between the two estates and not an agreement between the heirs. The personal representative had authority to “settle matters for the estate and its heirs” under 3-715(27) and whether that settlement affects the ultimate distribution of the mother’s estate is not before the court at this time. If the heirs try to settle the estate that is governed by 3-912, but when a PR settles a claim that is governed by 3-715 even if part of the settlement alters distribution of the estate.

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