In a personal injury suit, is the executor still liable even though no lawsuit was filed against the estate?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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In a personal injury suit, is the executor still liable even though no lawsuit was filed against the estate?

My brother-in-law was executor of his deceased mother’s estate. Her estate went through probate and her building was sold, debt were paid and the remaining balance went to her heirs as stated in her Will. About 6 months after the estate closed, a lawyer is sending letters to my brother-in-law claiming that he has a client who fell in front of my mother-in-law’s building while she was alive over 2 years ago, and that she knew about it. There was never a lawsuit filed against her according to court records and no lien was put on her building while she was living, or during the 1 year process of probating her Will after her death. The title company paid off any liens before disbursing the remaining money to the

executor. There is no money left from the estate or heirs, and to this day there is no lawsuit filed or pending against her estate. Does this lawyer and their client have a case, despite what I wrote above?

Asked on August 6, 2018 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) First, an executor is NEVER personally liable, unless he or she personally did something wrong--then the excutor is liable based on his/her own actions, not his/her position as executor.
2) After the estate is closed, it is too late to sue an estate--there is nothing there to sue (it would be like suing a corporation which did not only go out of business but which was also formally dissovled). 
3) The heirs or beneficiares are not responsible or liable for a claim against the estate, and once the estate is closed do not have to repay any moneys they received. 
Based on what you write, there does not appear to be a viable claim here.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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