Can I sue an executor for a unpaid debt after the estate is settled?

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Can I sue an executor for a unpaid debt after the estate is settled?

I have incurred a property tax debt from a house that was on my property for 2 years, which was part of an estate that was settled. The executor knew of this debt and originally agreed to pay it out of the estate, but the estate was settled without payment. Can I sue the executor for the monies owed?

Asked on March 31, 2011 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Absolutely you can sue the executor and the estate. Here is the problem: whether or not you would be successful. While executors have fiduciary duties and responsibilities, those usually run only to the estate itself and the beneficiaries. If you are a beneficiary or named beneficiary, and this was supposed to be paid as part of the intent of the will, then you have a viable claim. Also, if the executor promised you as a creditor that the debtor's estate would pay and that promise was in writing for anything over $500.00, then I see you may also have a viable claim. Seems like the executor may have been trying to preserve estate assets without legally dealing with all claims against the estate. You might be able to get the court to reopen in probate and ensure the monies owed to you are paid to you.


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