Can I sue on behalf of my mom’s Trust for a debt that is owed?

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Can I sue on behalf of my mom’s Trust for a debt that is owed?

About 15 years ago, my mom co-signed for sister-in-law on a student loan that went into default. My mom ended up cashing an IRA to pay $52,000 about 2 years ago. My sister-in-law was to continue to pay her back. My mom passed 18 months ago. Can I sue her on behalf of the estate to recoup the money?

Asked on June 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you are the executor, if there was a will, or personal representative (also known as the "adminstrator" in some states) if there was no will, of your mother's estate, and the estate has not yet gone all the way through probate and is still open, you can sue. The executor or personal representative is the estate's legal representative, with authority to, among other things, seek to collect debts owed the deceased. You'd have to be able to prove that the money was a loan and not a gift to the sister-in-law.


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