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Posted on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father-in-law died in Lehigh County without a Will. My wife has one brother who is younger than her. Who is responsible for his funeral bill, as the funeral director is billing us?

Typically, when a person dies the family will make arrangements with the funeral director to pay the bill themselves and then are 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, though I am sure the funeral director would prefer that you pay that bill.

If your father-in-law died a single man without a Will, then your wife and her brother under the rules of intestacy inherit his probate estate equally. The only way to receive these assets is to open his estate as an Administration with the Lehigh County Register of Wills. But, if you do open the estate, his creditors (including the funeral director) must be paid before they receive anything. If your father-in-law’s creditor’s claims exceed his assets, then your wife has to consider the wisdom of opening his estate.

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

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