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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Default Probate fees and paying bills

    My in-laws just died in the past month due to cancer. My husband is the executor of the will.

    We contacted the lawyer who made my husband executor (and POA, etc.) to get information about probating the will.

    My husband's parents had 1 house valued around 200,000 and a retirement account valued around 60,000. The lawyer offered to handle the estate for $9000 for everything (taxes, filings, etc.). But, she said the money needs to be paid up front and from the children (my husband, brother and sister in-law). She also stated that we no longer pay any bills owed my in-laws--to just contact the creditors and they will wait for their money (in what world does that happen?!?!). We will need to have things like power left on in the house while we are trying to sell it--I don't imagine PECO just "waiting" to get paid. :lol:

    My inlaws had $5000 in life insurance for funeral expenses but named each other as beneficiaries--so do we have to pay for everything out of pocket and then get reimbursed by the estate? That seems to be opening the siblings up for fighting (food, flowers, etc.).

    When my grandmother died (in PA) and my dad was executor, he said that all bills went thru the lawyer but that he signed them. And that the LAST bill out of the estate was to the lawyer.

    It just seems like a lot of money for a relatively small estate--less than 300,000. My grandmother had millions and my dad paid about $30,000.

    If we pay the money (which we really don't have) do we get it back from the estate? The lawyer said something about the fee being deductible from estate taxes--but how can they be deductible from the estate if they are paid by us? My sister in law wants the estate to pay for her to fly out for the funeral--she's been out here several times in the last few months and its getting expensive. Is that something that can come out of the estate?

    I guess, we want to know exactly what we have to pay out of pocket (it will likely be just us paying, I don't know if the other siblings have the money) and do we get the money back? Also, the house needs to be sold--are we able to make improvements to it to enhance its value? Again, who pays?


  2. #2


    You need to check into the retirement account. Usually this has a named beneficiary and also a second. This is not a part of the estate. If all they had was the house why is your husband not handling the estate and getting the executor fee. It can be a hassle but I agree that the fee seems high.

    State law determines the order of paying debts. The probate court can give you a copy of the state law and many have classes for executors. Check with the insurance company on the burial expenses. This should also be covered.

    If there is not currently any cash the executor can sell personal property and place the money in an estate account and then pay any necessary expenses for upkeep. Be sure to keep a very good record since your family seems open to squabling.

    Tickets to fly out to the funeral are not estate expenses. If you all feel that way then chip in personally to help out.

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