Payment of Funeral Expenses in an Estate

July 19, 2016 § 3 Comments

You represent the administratrix in an estate (or she could be an executrix). She paid the funeral expenses and would like to be reimbursed. Does she have to probate a claim?

This is a frequent question, and the answer is pretty clear. No, she does not.

Here is your authority:

¶ 9. The Mississippi Supreme Court established in 1938 that a claim for funeral expenses is not required to be probated because funeral expenses are considered to be part of the cost of the administration of an estate. Tom E. Taylor Undertaking Co. v. Smith’s Estate, 183 Miss. 45, 46, 183 So. 391, 391 (1938). The supreme court noted that the requirement to probate a claim “applies alone to obligations incurred by the decedent in his lifetime.” Id. The case has never been overruled or modified. The holding and the general notion was, in fact, discussed and upheld as recently as 2010 by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, and later affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2012. Bell v. Texaco, Inc., No. 5:09cv192KS-MTP, 2010 WL 1490144, at *1 (S.D.Miss. April 13, 2010); Bell v. Texaco, Inc., 493 Fed.Appx. 587, at 592 (5th Cir.2012).

 ¶ 10. The law is clear that the ninety-day time limit in which creditors must probate claims against an estate does not apply to claims for reimbursement of funeral expenses …

In re Estate of Whitley: Whitley v. Love, 129 So.3d 260, 261 (Miss. App. 2013).

§ 3 Responses to Payment of Funeral Expenses in an Estate

  • marty says:

    Judge, if an executrix, prior to retaining counsel and opening the estate, paid various bills of the decedent (credit cards, etc.), and seeks reimbursement from the estate, I take it she should probate a claim?

    • Larry says:

      Yes. And I would suggest you go ahead and probate that claim for funeral expenses, just to be sure. It won’t hurt anything, and it’s a measure of insurance. What sometimes happens is long after the 90 days to probate claims, maybe when you’re scraping everything together for a final account, the fiduciary says, “And what about the funeral expenses; can I get back the money I paid?” That’s the critical point where the cited case comes into play.

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