Am I liable for my sisters estate?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I liable for my sisters estate?

My sister passed away last year in June I was just made aware that the will she made in 1998 is the active will naming me trustee and executrix. Her first husband passed away so she appointed me in her will she remarried shortly after that and had another child the insurance policy had her new husband listed as beneficiary and I believe the house is in his name and hers. The 3 kids from her first marriage are all 21 and older. The will states I am to put everything in a trust and the 3 children would get it.

Asked on March 28, 2019 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) You are not personally liable for her estate: debts or costs are not inheritable. Even if you choose to function as trustee and/or executor, while you'd have to spend her money (estate money) as needed to carry out the will's wishes, you don't have to spend a single dime of your own money.
2) You cannot be made to serve as trustee or executor against your will. You can decline to serve and let her new husband (who, unlike you, is a beneficiary and thus is receiving something) step in and ask the court to appoint him as the estate's personal representative.

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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