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Posted on Monday, June 29th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father died in Bucks County, divorced from my mother and without a will. I have one sister who is younger than me. As the oldest child, the funeral director is billing me! Am I responsible for the bill?

When someone dies, the deceased’s family will typically make arrangements with the funeral director to pay the bill themselves, then get reimbursed by the estate.

Often, the funeral director will not take on the expense of the funeral without knowing they will be paid. Your question makes it sound as if you did not agree ahead of time to be responsible for the bill. If so, then you are not responsible to pay the bill. (That said, I am sure the funeral director would prefer that you pay that bill.)

If your father died a single man without a will, then you and your sister inherit his probate estate equally, under the rules of intestacy. The only way to receive these assets is to open his estate as an Administration with the Bucks County Register of Wills. But, if you do open the estate, his creditors (including the funeral director) must be paid before you receive anything. If debts to your father’s creditors exceed his assets, then you have to consider the wisdom of opening his estate.

If you have questions about Probate in Bucks County, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.

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