Asked in Estate Planning for Colorado

Q: My 91 yo mother slipped and fell on ice walking out of business establishment requiring surgery for a broken femur?

Her recovery is not going well and she might not leave the hospital. As the executor do I have a fiduciary responsibility to file a claim with the building owner's insurance company to protect her estate from the mounting medical bills?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rebecca Pescador
Rebecca Pescador
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Westminster, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: First, I am very sorry to hear this happened to your mother. That is a difficult situation, even without the legal implications.

At this time, it is important to keep track of legal roles. An executor, or personal representative, does not have any duties until the person has passed. Their authority comes from a Will, and therefore doesn't exist until the person has passed. So as an executor, you have no authority or duty at this present time. If she passes, then as executor you would want to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine what claims might be appropriate.

Often, if someone has prepared a Will, they have also prepared powers of attorney. These provide the designated person, the Agent, with authority to act on the person's behalf while they are still alive. If you are an Agent under a power of attorney, then you should consult with a personal injury attorney to determine what claims might be appropriate.

It is only by knowing what claims might be appropriate that you can really make a determination of whether you need to pursue a claim or not.

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