Can a third party file a claim against the estate for funeral expenses?

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Can a third party file a claim against the estate for funeral expenses?

The third party paid for the funeral in full 2 months before the death. They signed the contract with the funeral home. Can they request reimbursement from the estate?

Asked on April 24, 2011 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. If there was an agreement between representatives of the estate (or, in this case, the decedent; below, when refering to the estate, that will including the decedent), even an oral or verbal agreement, that the third party advancing the funds for the funeral, the third party can enforce that agreement. Or if someone associated with the estated had asked the third party to pay for  the funeral and the third party had reasonably understood (it must be "reasonable") that the third party would repay, then they promise may also be enforceable. On the other hand, if the third party initially paid as a gift, then he or she may not after the fact ask for reimbursement. So the answer will turn upon the circumstances and what was said by whom; there are legal theories supporting recovery and legal theories opposing it.


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