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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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Recently my ex husband passed away.At the time s family

Customer Question

Hello.My name is***** my ex husband passed away.At the time his family requested that I nominate them to do the identification,organise the funeral etc at the coroners court.This I did willingly as we have been seperated for 25 years although we have never divorced.
He has died intestate and now the family have discovered that I am next of kin they have decided that I need to deal with his estate and pay for the funeral costs which they organised.
Can they legally do this please as he will not have enough funds to cover his funeral and pay his remaining bills.Thankyou.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello Allison and thank you for your question.

Are you certain his estate is inadequate? He may also have superannuation that can be claimed by you or may be payable to the estate, have you explored this option?

Due to the lateness of the hour I may not be able to respond further until tomorrow but your patience is apprciated.

Thank you,


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am certain and his family specifically requested that I nominate them to do all legal things....I have had nothing to do with them for a very very long time.I have had no contact regarding his death certificate,his ashes or any funeral costs save by word of mouth from his brother in law tonight.I have indicated I am quite willing to turn over all his assetts legally to his family as we have not been a couple for 25 years.Just because we failed to divorce does this legally obligate me to bear his posthumus costs??I am unwilling to do so as I dont even know how to proceed....Thankyou
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also I specifically need to know that due to the length of our seperation am I legally bound to take this responsibility given the fact that I had no hand in the organisation of the funeral and signed nothing at all.I have never been to his place of residence and indeed know nothing of his life in past years.....Thankyou
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.

If you did not sign for any funeral expenses then you are prima face not liable for them beyond the value of the estate.

An argument could be made by the family that you 'induced' them to pay for the funeral and that you should pay, but they would have to demonstrate that you did something to mislead them into believing you were agreeing to meet the ultimate costs.

That aside, however a court is likely to find that the estate should first be applied to funeral expenses so if they press you, you are right to turn over all the estate assets to meet such expenses but to the extent that the estate falls short of meeting the funeral expenses they are essentially stuck with them.

I trust the above assists your understanding.



Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.


I note you have not rated my answer so far and am wondering if there is any further assistance I can provide?

If not could you please rate my answer on the website.