Am I able to sell property for funeral costs?

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Am I able to sell property for funeral costs?

My father passed away without a Will. He was divorced (for 14 years) and his debts that outweigh his assets. If I was to walk away from the estate, without an administrator appointed, as his adult child am I able to sell his motorcycles (that I am in possession of, with titles in my father’s name) to “fund raise” for the funeral costs? Also, I was listed as beneficiary on his bank account with a few hundred dollars. I split it 3 ways (2 siblings) and am using my share toward funeral. Is that legal?

Asked on August 27, 2012 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  First of all, you can not do anything with his assets unless and untl you are appointed as the administrator of the estate.  And you can not split the bank account - or any asset - until the debts are paid and the funeral is the debt that must be paid first.  You will not be able to sell the motorcycle or transfer title unless you are appointed.  It would not be a legal transfer.  Yes, you can sell it to pay other bills but I would negotiate the amounts dowen and get it in writing to save some funds.  Good luck.


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