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Who is responsible for paying for a funeral, the estate administrator or the person that signed the contract ?

Ithaca, NY |

A friend of a decedent signed the funeral and burial contract agreement with the mortuary before an estate administrator was appointed in an intestate death situation. I've been informed by a non-legal source that the person who signed is responsible for paying and not the executor. Is that true?

Attorney Answers 3


Actually both the person signing the contract and the executor are responsible. Although the person signing the contract is responsible for paying the funeral home, the executor is responsible for repaying anyone who has spent any money on the decedent's funeral. In fact, funeral creditors are priority creditors and must be paid before other creditors and beneficiaries. However, the executor is only responsible to the extent that the estate has assets.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and no attorney client relationship has been formed. Before choosing a course of action, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an attorney in your area.

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I agree with the prior attorney's answer. A funeral is an expense of the decedent's estate, so the estate is responsible for the debt to the extent that funds exist to pay the debt.

Ms Smith is licensed to practice law in Texas and Arkansas. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

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The decedent's friend should make sure to present the bill and receipt to the administrator. If the administrator will not reimburse, then the friend should present those same documents to the Court.

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