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How do I get reimbursed for funeral and luncheon expenses from an estate?

Bensalem, PA |

My husband died last spring. We were separated but had started reconciling, then he died suddenly. Since I wasn't mentioned in the will, his son from his first marriage was the executor of the estate. I signed a prenuptial agreement so I was not to get anything from his estate except for some household things, furniture, that kind of thing. But I put out the money for the funeral and the luncheon and some other costs. I've been trying to get reimbursed for the funeral and luncheon, I think that's the least that they can do, but the lawyer for the estate is ignoring me. What do I do? Do I have to pay for a lawyer to sue to get this money back? Or is there something easier? Thanks.

Attorney Answers 3


Hello ...

My condolences. If your expenses were legitimate (which it appears that they are very legitimate), you should be reimbursed by the Executor for the costs expended.

Unfortunately, it sounds like there may me more going on here (to me at least). Without more background (i.e., amounts expended, reasons why you are not being reimbursed, etc.) as to what the real issues are here, I would be remiss in suggesting that you pursue any legal remedy.

Has anyone given you any explanation as to why you cannot be reimbursed?

Good luck in your quest - talking to a lawyer does tend to clarify the real issues - and I would suggest that you do that first.


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They said he had a mortgage on his store's building that was more than the building was worth, but I know there was other money there. I just haven't seen anything on paper, no balance sheet or accounting or anything, and nobody's returning my calls. At first they said they'd reimburse me, then I stopped hearing from them. I guess it's time to call a lawyer.


Yes. If your step-son won't voluntarily reimburse you out of the estate, file a claim in the register of wills. Filing a claim is a relatively simple matter. You might want to see a seasoned probate lawyer and show him or her the prenuptial agreement to see if you validly waived your right to take against his will. While there, the lawyer can draft up a claim to file in the Register of Wills office.

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Absent something in the prenup that obligated you to pay for the funeral costs (that would be very unusual), you're likely entitled to reimbursement from the estate. Filing a formal claim with the Register of Wills is a good thing to do and it's pretty simple. If you don't get paid within a month or two, consider filing a petition to compel an accounting by the estate. That petition can be filed any time after 6 months from the date the estate advertising first runs in the local paper. You'll need a lawyer to help you with that, but hopefully the estate will pay you before that becomes necessary. Good luck.

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