If I am a beneficiary on my late father’s Will, am I entitled to a copy and am I responsible for his debts or probating?

My sister is the executor of the estate, however she is not discussing anything with the rest of us. Is it her soul responsibility on what happens to the house. It was left equally to all beneficiaries. He had an insurance policy in my name that lapse just prior to his death due to his hospitalization. Who is responsible for outstanding utilities and funeral costs, all beneficiaries or the executor? If there is no percentage set for the executor in the will are they entitled to one? His last SS check was sent equally do we have to give it to the executor towards any costs.

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  This can be a very difficultt time for family members sorting through grief as well as the matters of the estate.  First, some general information as to how the process works.  You as a beneficiary should indeed receive a copy of the Last Will and Testament of your Father.  A copy should be given you when you are served with notice of intent to offer the Will for probate or a waiver to sign to allow the Will to be offered for probate.  Once admitted to probate the Will is a public record for all to view.  Now, the estate is responsible for the debts of your Father, not you individually nor the executor "individually."  The executor is responsible for making sure that creditors are paid prior to the distribution of the assets to the beneficiaries. As for the SS check, please make sure that it was due and owing at the tie of his death.  Those funds can be tricky with dates and returns to the government.  Good luck. 

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