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Posted on Monday, July 20th, 2015 by Peter Klenk

From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My father died in Montgomery County divorced from my mother and without a will. I have one sister who is younger than me. Am I responsible for his funeral bill?

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, although I am sure your father’s funeral director would prefer that you pay that bill.

If your father died a single man without a will, then your sister and you (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 Montgomery 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 your father’s creditors exceed his assets, then you have to consider the wisdom of opening his estate.

If you would like to review the options, feel free to contact my office for a free consultation.

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