Can an inheritance be distributed for an emergency is probate is not yet final?

UPDATED: Jan 12, 2015

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Can an inheritance be distributed for an emergency is probate is not yet final?

My sister and I inherited a house that was sold. We each get 50%. The house was closed on and I have the check since I’m the personal representative. All outstanding bills were paid for at the closing. We have not gone through the final stage of probate yet. She needs an operation and wants half of her share of the money to pay for it. Can I legally give it to her ? I hope so.

Asked on January 12, 2015 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

A disribution prior to the finalization of probate can be made. Typcially, this is done in an emergency situation such as you have described here. That having been said, you should be aware that while a PR is not usually held personally liable for debts of an estate, if assets are distributed but there is a bill other liability owed, the PR can be held liable for the value of the assets that were distributed. At this point you may want to consult with a probate attroney as to your rights and responsibilities under applicable state law.

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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