What to do about funeral expenses and debt?

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What to do about funeral expenses and debt?

My brother died last yearand a few months ago I found out I could go to the courthouse and open an estate account and cash his check and federal return (equaling around $1,300). He died owing 2 student loans and 1 is now telling me in a letter that they are opening a case against his estate. I still need to buy a headstone and I heard something about priority paying? Is that a funeral expense and can I use that money for that? He did have insurance so we used that to get his casket and plot and bury him.

Asked on August 1, 2012 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written you have a probate opened with respect to your brother's estate. If you are the executor of the estate, you need to read his Will carefully to see if you can unilaterally use estate assets to pay off funeral expenses and debt. If not, you need to file a petition with the court seeking the relief that you want from the court via a court order.

If you do not have an attorney assisting you in your matter, I suggest that you retain one.

If there is a policy of insurance, you need to ascertain who the beneficiary is in order to determine how such funds are to be used.


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