Can an estate representative, who is also a beneficiary, be sued if the home insurance coverage lapses in the event of a house fire?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can an estate representative, who is also a beneficiary, be sued if the home insurance coverage lapses in the event of a house fire?

I am the representative of my father’s Will and I am a beneficiary along with 2 siblings listed on the Will. The home insurance lapsed about 10 days ago and the 2 of my siblings don’t want to pay the back premiums. Im afraid if something happens like a house fire. The property was not vacant after the middle of last month. Is it possible that my siblings can sue me if that happens?

Asked on August 1, 2019 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you fail to pay using estate funds (e.g. any money your father left behind, such as in a bank account) them you could be sued, because it is your duty to protect or preserve the property using estate resources, so failing to spend estate money for this purpose would be a breach of that duty.
But you have no duty to spend you own personal money on the estate, so if there are no estate funds to pay for this, you do not have to go out of pocket to pay. You and your siblings can agree to share or split the cost, and you can and should email or otherwise write (some way you can prove delivery) your siblings that there are no funds and that unless that agree to contribute to the cost of insurance, there will be no insurance--that way, you can prove you put them on notice.

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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