From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father recently died a resident of Philadelphia and I am the executor of his estate. The will says that he wants $5,000 spent for his wake at his favorite stripper bar. My sister is going to be upset. Can she stop me from honoring dad’s wishes? I read on your site that funerals and wakes are deductible. Is a wake at a striper bar deductible?
In some cultures, the wake is a festive event. In others, it is a somber event.
Your dad went for festive.
His putting his wish in the will and giving you a specific dollar amount puts you on firm ground. If he had just told you this wish without putting it into writing, your sister could more easily stop the wake or later demand that you pay for it out of your share.
The Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax and the Federal Estate Tax allow for a deduction against the tax for a funeral and related events proportionate to the deceased’s estate. For many estates, spending $5,000 on a wake for a large group (including food and drinks) falls within the range of reasonable. I would need to know more about your father’s estate to tell you if the price tag is really reasonable, however. The wake’s location is not as a factor in getting the deduction. On the practical side, make sure the receipt for the expense shows that you are only spending the money on entrance fees, food, and drink.
If you have any other questions about Probate, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation with one of our Probate Attorneys.