What should I do if I was executor of an estate but did not file probate?

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What should I do if I was executor of an estate but did not file probate?

I am executor of my aunt’s estate along with my mother. My aunt died over 1 year ago. She was 92 and in a state nursing home. She had $6700 in a joint checking account (with my mother and myself). No other property or possessions. The nursing home filed with the SS office and I assumed that was all I had to do. After 1 year I wrote checks to the church and her siblings, as was requested in her Will. The PA State Recovery Program wants me to pay them the $6700. Am I liable? Should I now file probate? My mother is 87 which is why I am involved.

Asked on May 24, 2011 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  You need to seek some counsel on this matter.  I am sure that the state charges exceed the amount that she had and I am fairly certain that they are entitled to recover from her estate.  You never did the probate and wrote the checks as a joint account holder, correct?  You may need to recover the money and pay back the state.  The laws surrounding the ability to place a lien on the care of the elderly by the state and the federal government is strong.  This is not a situation that you need to take lightly.  You could become personally liable.  Please see an attorney right away.  Good luck to you.


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