Who is legally responsible?

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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).


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