Who is legally responsible?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Who is legally responsible?

I was the executor of my cousin’s estate. She had prearranged funeral expenses but they did not include everything, so there was a balance of $2,000. The estate did not have the cash funds to pay at the time. I was waiting for the sale of the house in order to pay the bills. The house was slow in selling and another cousin petitioned the court to become the executor, which the court approved. Now the funeral home is taking me to court for the remainder of the bill. Since I signed the papers as the representative of the estate, is it my responsibility for the payment or is it up to the new representative?

Asked on February 13, 2017 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It depends how you signed. If you signed (i.e. wrote under or over your signature) that you were signing as the personal representative of the estate, then the estate, not you, is liable for the cost, and this would now be the new executor's problem to arrange payment. But if you simply signed your name, then while you may think you were signing as personal representative, legally, you signed in your own capacity and are liable for the cost(s).

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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