Can I sue on behalf of my mom’s Trust for a debt that is owed?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can I sue on behalf of my mom’s Trust for a debt that is owed?

About 15 years ago, my mom co-signed for sister-in-law on a student loan that went into default. My mom ended up cashing an IRA to pay $52,000 about 2 years ago. My sister-in-law was to continue to pay her back. My mom passed 18 months ago. Can I sue her on behalf of the estate to recoup the money?

Asked on June 9, 2019 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you are the executor, if there was a will, or personal representative (also known as the "adminstrator" in some states) if there was no will, of your mother's estate, and the estate has not yet gone all the way through probate and is still open, you can sue. The executor or personal representative is the estate's legal representative, with authority to, among other things, seek to collect debts owed the deceased. You'd have to be able to prove that the money was a loan and not a gift to the sister-in-law.

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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