If my mother just passed away and I’m an executor, how doI sell her assets quickly to pay for the funeral?

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If my mother just passed away and I’m an executor, how doI sell her assets quickly to pay for the funeral?

I don’t know what to do now. Found out there is a Will naming myself and my estranged brother (of 7 years) as executors.

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your loss.  What you need to do is take a deep breath at this point in time.  You can bury your mother and the Funeral Parlor will have you sign a note of sorts regarding the funeral expenses and payment.  Please understand that you will be signing personally and I am giving you this information only under the assumption that there are assets that will pay for the funeral once the estate is probated.  The funeral parlor will have a lien on the estate and funeral expenses are generally given priority in paying out creditors.

You need to seek help from an attorney in your area - at least for a consultation - on how to proceed here.  It really depends on how much your Mother's estate is worth (the assets - is it a small or large estate?) and the debts (mortgage, credit card, etc.).  Executors have a responsibility to pay off the debt with the funds received from liquidation, etc.  Some states allow executors to act independently meaning that you and your brother will not always have to agreee, but that can lead to trouble. You can not sell - or "dissipate" - assets of an estate until you are named as executor.  Good luck.


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