If I give my written permission to arrange the funeral, will I get stuck with any of my father’s debts or the cost of the funeral?

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If I give my written permission to arrange the funeral, will I get stuck with any of my father’s debts or the cost of the funeral?

My biological father has recently passed away. He gave up his paternal rights to me when I was just a baby. I was told by a member of his family that they need written permission from me to arrange his funeral, even though he gave up his rights for me 21 years ago.

Asked on August 29, 2012 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I don't understand why anyone would need your permission to arrange your father's funeral if he gave up all rights 21 years ago.  It is possible that the funeral director is insisting that you give permission and his family cannot locate proof that your father gave up his rights.  It is sometimes difficult to find those papers or have them released by a court. 

Giving permission for your biological father's family to arrange a funeral should not obligate you to pay any of his debts or the cost of his funeral, BUT you want to read the permission paper carefully.  Make sure it only says you give permission.  If you like, you can insist that they include language like: "By granting this permission, the undersigned __________________ shall in no way assume or be obligated to pay any debts incurred by ______________ or his estate, including the cost of funeral or burial."

I am sorry you find yourself in this position after so many years.  You would be very kind to assist your father's family in this way.


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