Can an estate representative, who is also a beneficiary, be sued if the home insurance coverage lapses in the event of a house fire?

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Can an estate representative, who is also a beneficiary, be sued if the home insurance coverage lapses in the event of a house fire?

I am the representative of my father’s Will and I am a beneficiary along with 2 siblings listed on the Will. The home insurance lapsed about 10 days ago and the 2 of my siblings don’t want to pay the back premiums. Im afraid if something happens like a house fire. The property was not vacant after the middle of last month. Is it possible that my siblings can sue me if that happens?

Asked on August 1, 2019 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you fail to pay using estate funds (e.g. any money your father left behind, such as in a bank account) them you could be sued, because it is your duty to protect or preserve the property using estate resources, so failing to spend estate money for this purpose would be a breach of that duty.
But you have no duty to spend you own personal money on the estate, so if there are no estate funds to pay for this, you do not have to go out of pocket to pay. You and your siblings can agree to share or split the cost, and you can and should email or otherwise write (some way you can prove delivery) your siblings that there are no funds and that unless that agree to contribute to the cost of insurance, there will be no insurance--that way, you can prove you put them on notice.


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