Columbus, GA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Georgia

Q: My friend died and I paid to bury her. Can I get paid back from her estate before the money is paid to beneficiaries?

I know that she has money in the estate.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In the situation where you've paid for your friend's burial expenses and you believe there are funds in her estate to reimburse you, it's important to understand the legal process for handling debts and distributions from an estate. Generally, creditors, including individuals who have paid for funeral expenses, may have the right to seek reimbursement from the deceased person's estate before the remaining assets are distributed to beneficiaries. However, the specific laws governing creditor claims and estate distributions vary depending on the jurisdiction where the estate is being administered.

To seek reimbursement from your friend's estate for the burial expenses you've paid, you may need to file a claim with the probate court overseeing the estate administration process. This claim typically involves providing documentation of the expenses incurred, such as receipts or invoices related to the burial arrangements. The probate court will then review the claim and determine its validity, considering factors such as the amount of the debt and the available assets in the estate.

It's important to be aware that the priority of creditor claims against an estate can vary depending on state laws and the specific circumstances of the case. In some cases, funeral expenses may be considered a higher priority debt and paid before other types of creditors. However, if there are insufficient assets in the estate to cover all debts, creditors may not be able to receive full reimbursement. Seeking guidance from a legal professional familiar with estate administration and probate law can help you navigate the process and understand your rights and options for seeking reimbursement from your friend's estate.

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