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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10221
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I am about to recieve a settlement in a proudct liabillty

Customer Question

I am about to recieve a settlement in a proudct liabillty lawsuit from counsel in another state. my question is do i need to go though thru any filings in pa. to be able to receive my settlement funds. there is no will, i am executor of my wife who is deceased.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 3 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

If the product liability case is brought for your own injury/damages - then no. You do not need any additional filings.

If the product liability case is brought for your wife's injury/damages - the answer is a little more complicated.

  • Your attorney may be able to get settlement funds disbursed in your name so that no further filings are necessary. (This depends on the cooperation of the defendant and/or the attorney's willingness to distribute the funds from their trust account) The reason is below.
  • The funds may be owed (at least in part) directly to you (depending on how the claim is made), if so that portion should be cut to you, and the remainder will be dealt with either by the agreement of the defendant or your attorney (noted above), or below.
  • If the defendant, or the attorney do not agree to change the distribution of the funds, and issue a check to your wife's estate, then you will need to go through the probate process. (If your wife had a trust, this trust may account for these funds, otherwise you will have to go to probate court). If a probate case was already filed, this can be dealt with in the same action (you do not need to open a new probate matter, even if the probate court closed the original proceeding it can be reopened).

So the most complex this will end up being is that you will have to go to probate court for a distribution of the funds.

You should contact the attorney handling the product liability case early though (and in writing) to address the disbursement issue. The earlier you identify the issue and come up with a resolution, the easier it is to solve it.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
there is no probate that i know of ,there is only the one attorney acting in my own behalf.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
the case was filed by me in behalf of my deceased wife. i am her legal husband here in pa. i know i have to file estate taxes when settlement is paid. so if i am executor of my wifes estate , ishould be able to get paid without any probate issues.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
are you still there?
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 3 months ago.

If the action was filed so that your wife's estate is the plaintiff, you may need to file a probate matter to handle the distribution.

(See my note above about working with the attorney ahead of time to manage this, as the attorney and the defendant may be willing to work with you on this issue depending on the very specific facts of your case).

But if the estate is the plaintiff, and the proceeds are paid to the estate, you may need to file a probate case in PA. (If the total value of your wife's estate requiring distribution is less than $11,000.00 you can use a "small estate affidavit").

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