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

Answers:

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.


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