As the beneficiary of an estate, am I responsible to pay for funeral and medical costs?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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As the beneficiary of an estate, am I responsible to pay for funeral and medical costs?

The decedent left the estate and house to an unofficially adopted adult child that lived with him. Now the executor is demanding that each beneficiary, including the major heir, pay 5k for the balance of funeral, medical expenses and a cash gift to an estate employee before they can inherit the land the decedent left them, which is small in comparison with the major heir’s inheritance. Is this fair? Shouldn’t those expenses have been paid first before I, as a minor beneficiary, am billed for them? I feel it is unjust as I am sure provisions were made by the decedent to cover these expenses before he died so something is wrong. The executor has said the estate is too much for him to handle so it appears, he is leaving everything to be managed by the major heir since any correspondence is sent through the major heir, who I do not trust. The other beneficiaries have not said a word about what I perceive is an injustice.

Asked on August 7, 2016 under Estate Planning, Michigan


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are correct that the funeral and medical expenses should have been paid from the estate prior to the beneficiaries receiving their inheritance.
If the Will includes procedures for removal of the executor and appointment of a successor, those procedures should be followed.  If the Will is silent on removal of the executor and appointment of a successor, you can petition the probate court to have a successor appointed executor.

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