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In re Estate of Wingen

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 10, 2013

In re the Estate of: Erna M. Wingen, Deceased

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Blue Earth County District Court File No. 07-PR-07-2623

Keith L. Deike, Patton, Hoversten & Berg, P.A., Waseca, Minnesota (for appellant Francis E. Wingen)

Scott V. Kelly, Farrish Johnson Law Office, Chtd., Mankato, Minnesota (for respondent Kathryn Stencel)

Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge; Larkin, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.

RODENBERG, Judge

In this appeal from a district court order in probate proceedings, appellant challenges the district court's adoption of the county taxing authority's estimated market value as the fair market value of certain real property. We affirm.

FACTS

This is the second appeal to this court arising from a dispute over the administration of the estate of decedent Erna M. Wingen.[1] Respondent Kathryn S. Stencel, decedent's daughter, is the personal representative designated in the will. Appellant Francis E. Wingen is the other surviving devisee under the will.

In August 2010, respondent filed a statement to close the estate. See generally Minn. Stat. § 524.3-1003 (2012) (authorizing personal representatives to close an unsupervised estate using such a statement). Appellant objected to the statement to close and brought a petition alleging that the estate had not been equally distributed and seeking equalization of the distribution. See generally Minn. Stat. § 524.3-1001(a)(1) (2012) (authorizing such petitions).

The matter was set for trial. At a pretrial hearing, the parties resolved all issues except the valuation of two tracts of real estate. Both tracts are located in Blue Earth County. The first tract is a 109.33-acre lot on Lura Lake and the second is an 80-acre farm parcel.

In her February 24, 2011 final account for the estate, respondent valued the Lura Lake property at $382, 300 and the 80-acre lot at $237, 400. This valuation was the estimated market value ascribed to the lots by the Blue Earth County tax assessor in 2007. The estate, by agreement of the parties, used these values when filing its estate tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS accepted the use of the county assessor's estimated market value for both parcels.

Before trial, appellant obtained an appraisal from Hoysler Associates Inc. and respondent obtained an appraisal from Appraisal Services of Mankato Inc. Both estimated the fair market value of the parcels to be higher than the county assessor's estimated market value. However, appellant's appraisal estimated the value of the parcels as of October 2008, and the parties agree that the proper valuation date was July 7, 2007, decedent's date of death. At trial, the parties stipulated that the values recited in the appellant's appraisal should properly be reduced by 5% to account for the use of the wrong valuation date. Additionally, the parties agreed that respondent's appraisal used an incorrect acreage for the Lura Lake parcel.

At trial, the two appraisals and the county assessor's estimated market value were received in evidence by stipulation. No other estimates of the value of the two tracts of land were offered. The district court found that the fair market value of the two parcels was equal to the ...


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