If my mother just passed away and I’m an executor, how doI sell her assets quickly to pay for the funeral?

I don’t know what to do now. Found out there is a Will naming myself and my estranged brother (of 7 years) as executors.

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Estate Planning, Maryland


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  What you need to do is take a deep breath at this point in time.  You can bury your mother and the Funeral Parlor will have you sign a note of sorts regarding the funeral expenses and payment.  Please understand that you will be signing personally and I am giving you this information only under the assumption that there are assets that will pay for the funeral once the estate is probated.  The funeral parlor will have a lien on the estate and funeral expenses are generally given priority in paying out creditors.

You need to seek help from an attorney in your area - at least for a consultation - on how to proceed here.  It really depends on how much your Mother's estate is worth (the assets - is it a small or large estate?) and the debts (mortgage, credit card, etc.).  Executors have a responsibility to pay off the debt with the funds received from liquidation, etc.  Some states allow executors to act independently meaning that you and your brother will not always have to agreee, but that can lead to trouble. You can not sell - or "dissipate" - assets of an estate until you are named as executor.  Good luck.

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.