What to do about a personal injury settlement and an estate?

My sisters, brothers and I are getting money from my grandfathers estate (from an abestos case). One of my sisters passed away two years ago, and now there is money that is coming into the estate. What steps do we need to take, or make, to get our money faster? And what happens to the money that’s for my sister?

Asked on September 5, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There are several layers to your question.  First, what you can do to get your money faster depends on the processes in your state.  The steps are: the parties reach a final settlement in the asbestos case, that settlement is approved by the court (if required by your state; in Florida, this is ordinarily not required), the settlement money is paid to the attorney, the attorney processes the money and distributes it to the Estate account (or holds it in the attorney's trust account), the person responsible for the estate (executor/administrator/personal representative) makes certain all debts of the estate are paid (this may have already occurred), the executor files an accounting with the Probate Court (if required), the executor distributes the proceeds to the beneficiaries.  If I were you, I would call the attorney handling the asbestos case, ask if the settlement has already been paid, and ask when you can expect to receive your share.

As to your second question, what happens to your sister's share depends on how she inherits from your grandfather.  If he had a will, it depends on how the will was written.  If he did not have a will, it depends on how your state statute of desecent and distribution is written.  The money could go to your sister's heirs or it could be divided amongst the surviving siblings.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.