Phoenix, AZ asked in Consumer Law, Elder Law and Probate for Arizona

Q: If a relative would have been a benefactor in a legal settlement but they are deceased, who could file a claim and how?

A claim would have to be filed to be eligible for a percentage of a large sum. My aunt died 3 years ago and left some personal items from her estate as well as some of her paperwork of old financial records- just in case. Glad I hung onto them. But, she and her estate were under a county conservator and fiduciary appointed by the court when she could no longer care for her affairs. She left a will, leaving me and my two sisters as Executors (in succession, if need be). However, the Fiduciary or Conservator acted as Executor even though she had asked what our 'intentions were'. Well, we thought that meant that we could contest the will but we didn't want to or need to contest it, so we waited. Long story short, her heirs (us) received nothing monetary. A creditor filed a claim against the Estate and the fiduciary paid them. Were they correct in doing this? And, can I file a claim as my aunt's representative now for this settlement? How do I do that, if so? And if not me, who?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter H. Westby
Peter H. Westby
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: The personal representative of your aunt's estate is the one who should file any claims. As for the claim that was paid, you will need to know more about the claim, itself. One of the jobs of a fiduciary is to investigate claims, reject the poor ones and, where funds are available, determine which claims are to be paid. If you have reason to believe that this fiduciary acted wrongfully, you should investigate. I recommend hiring counsel to help direct this investigation.

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