If a person dies, his or her actions prior to death could result in a lawsuit against the estate after death. This means that the person in charge of administering the estate may find himself having to fight, settle, or resolve a lawsuit before the estate can be closed and the assets distributed to the beneficiaries. This is because the liabilities of the estate must be paid before the beneficiaries can take their inheritance.
Why an Estate May Be Sued For the Actions of the Decedent
Why would a person who has died be the subject of a lawsuit? There are many potential reasons, but one common example involves a car accident that resulted in the decedent’s death. If the decedent was at fault for the accident, a civil lawsuit may be pursued against his estate. Examples of how the decedent may have been at fault for the accident include the following:
- The decedent was driving while intoxicated.
- The decedent was driving while distracted, such as using a cell phone or navigation system.
- The decedent was acting negligently.
- The decedent was not following the rules of the road.
If another person suffered injuries or property damage as a result of the accident, he or she may file a claim against the estate. If the decedent had insurance in place, the insurance policy may cover the liability, and the insurance company may also have to hire an attorney to defend the estate, depending on the terms of the policy. If the damages exceed the policy coverage, however, the estate will have to cover the difference.
Understanding how to handle lawsuits involving an estate is crucial to ensuring that the estate’s interests are protected. We encourage you to contact us today at (888) 443-6590 for more information.
AttorneyThe Grossman Law Firm, APC · 525 B Street, Suite 1500, San Diego, CA 92101 · (951) 523-8307