If friends volunteer to fulfill a deceased’s dying request, can they bill for it?

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If friends volunteer to fulfill a deceased’s dying request, can they bill for it?

My aunt died with just a little money left in a bank account about $1200. She was never married and had no children. I am her niece, so she asked me to be a secondary signer on her account to make sure her bills were paid if necessary. Her friends assisted her with her request to die at home and then had a small Bhudist ceremony after death. They are now asking to be reimbursed for more money than she had. There were no contracts or agreements signed for this. They did it at her request but it was done on a volunteer basis. The one professional person who handled her “green death” was paid in full. Can I be sued for the remaining funds? I am still getting Medicare bill statements and want to make sure her bills for that are paid first.

Asked on October 21, 2015 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, if you volunteer to carry out someone's last wishes, you are NOT entitled to payment for it. Helping another person or doing a nice thing for them willingly--when there was no contractual or other obligation to do so--does not entitle one to compensation. d on what you write, they have no legal basis to seek money from you (assuming you did not enter into any contracts with them). That does not meant that one or another might not try to file a legal action--unfortunately, it's almost impossible to stop someone from filing a lawsuit--but based on what you write, you do not appear to be liable for any costs.


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