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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7652
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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I paid my mothers bills/living expenses for approximately

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I paid my mother's bills/living expenses for approximately 10 years prior to her death and then paid bills and cared for estate for another two after death. The estate has not been closed and a wrongful death suit has now been settled, I am the executor of the estate and would like to know what I can recover from the settlement money before it is split between the siblings in the state of WV.

LegalGems :

Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction!

LegalGems :

I am sorry to hear of your loss. One moment as I review your question.

LegalGems :

Did you have a written agreement with your mom regarding reimbursement of expenses?

LegalGems :

As for any bills paid out as executor, an executor is entitled to reasonable expenses incurred in settling the estate. In fact, some times the executor may receive compensation. Did the will specify this?

Customer:

No I did not have a written agreement with my Mom regarding reimbursement of expenses.

Customer:

There was not an amount specified in will but WV does allow a 5% executor fee to be paid by law

LegalGems :

Do you have copies of receipts for the last 10 years of her life?

Customer:

yes, I do

LegalGems :

OK; one moment please.

LegalGems :

Generally, other than funeral expenses, a family member would not be reimbursed for expenses incurred during the life of the decedent. (I am including funeral expenses because these can be pre-paid). This is particularly so if the will does not specify that a debt is owing to a person and should be satisfied from the estate. However, the siblings may voluntarily reimburse the caretaker sibling, and is more likely to do so if there is adequate proof of justifiable expenses. However, absent a conservatorship/guardianship, it is difficult to insist on reimbursement after the passing of the person.

Customer:

Okay, am fairly certain there will be no voluntary reimbursement. Thank you for your assistance.

LegalGems :

However, please see attached: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=55&art=7&section=6 - under WV's wrongful death statute, the judge may distribute the proceeds as he deems to be just.

LegalGems :

In such a case, where one child assumed primary responsibility for a parent, it would seem just to reimburse that child; so it will depend on the judge's definition of just. Meanwhile, you should start itemizing your receipts so it's easy to review (i.e. spreadsheet).

Customer:

I understand but have no desire to take this to court...just want it over, I will submit bills taken care of after her death for reimbursement and move forward. Thank you

LegalGems :

You are welcome. I can understand that consideration.

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