If a sister and brother are willed the same amount of money from a deceased father, and the brother pays the funeral costs. Can he then sue the sister for her part of the inheritance?

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If a sister and brother are willed the same amount of money from a deceased father, and the brother pays the funeral costs. Can he then sue the sister for her part of the inheritance?

My girlfriend has been served papers
filed by her brother suing her for her
part of her father’s inheritance. They
each got a separate check, and he’s
decided that since he paid for the
funeral that he is entitled to her
check of 7000.00 . There was never a
written agreement that she would help
in any way. Can he possibly have any
right to have what their father
intended to be hers?

Asked on May 4, 2018 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The son is not entitled to any reimbursement for the funeral expenses. This is an amount that he that voluntarily paid; he was under no legal obligation to do so. Therefore, unless he had an agreement with his ister as to repayment of this money, it is his sole cost to bear. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, he is not entitled to her share of the money. He chose to pay for the funeral: his voluntary choice to do so does not give him a right to her money (legally, at least; arguably, ethically, she should have paid half, but that is a different story). Only if she had agreed to pay would she be obligated do so. When A chooses to pay for something without getting B to agree to pay a share, too, it all A's cost.


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