Montgomery County Funeral Arrangements

Arranging a funeral in the event of a loved one can often be a difficult process. There are specific details that must be examined, such as whether or not the deceased has a Will which could place someone as their Personal Representative to make funeral arrangements. Such conditions should be examined with the help of a credible attorney. A trusted probate lawyer could shed light on laws regarding Montgomery County funeral arrangements.

How are Funeral Arrangements Determined?

Funeral arrangements are usually determined by the family, but if a person has a Medical Power of Attorney in place which authorizes a named agent to coordinate funeral arrangements or, alternatively, has a Last Will and Testament in place that authorizes their Personal Representative to make funeral arrangements, then that named person should be the person who has the authority to do so.

In cases where there is no Last Will and Testament, then it is usually the closest family member who makes those arrangements and, if there is no Will, then a funeral home will generally comply with the family. But if there is a Will, then the proper person to make those arrangements would be the Personal Representative if they are authorized to do so in their Last Will and Testament.

Responsibility for Planning and Funding a Funeral Arrangement

If a person has a Last Will and Testament that provides for the Personal Representative to make the funeral arrangements, then that person would ultimately have the responsibility of handling the funeral arrangements. If that person pays for the funeral arrangements out of their personal funds, that person would be entitled to be reimbursed from the estate for those expenses.

The same would be true in any situation; whoever makes payment for the funeral expenses is entitled to be reimbursed. There are situations where the funeral home will wait to be paid for the funeral and in that situation, there would be unpaid funeral expenses that the estate would ultimately owe back to the funeral home for the expenses incurred.

Assigning a Personal Representative in the Absence of a Will

If there is no Will and therefore no one has been named to serve as Personal Representative, there is a list of priority people who are entitled to serve as Personal Representative and make those types of decisions. If the decedent in Montgomery County is married, then their spouse would have priority to serve over anyone else. If there is a disagreement between the decedent’s spouse and the decedent’s parents, for example, the spouse would have priority over the parents to serve and be appointed by the court as Personal Representative.  In some situations, court intervention is necessary to determine the disposal of a decedent’s remains.

Deciding not to Assign a Personal Representative

When going down the list of priority people of the decedent, if they do not wish to serve or consent to someone else serving as Personal Representative, then someone else would be allowed to serve and could potentially be appointed by the court.

As an example, if there was a disagreement between the decedent’s spouse and parents, and the spouse decided they did not want to serve as Personal Representative, since the spouse has priority, the spouse would have to sign a Consent to have the parents serve as Personal Representative. In that event, the Probate Court would be able to appoint the parent to serve as a Personal Representative over the spouse because the spouse consented to it.

Liability of a Burial Expense in Montgomery County

Only the estate is liable for estate expenses when it comes to debts, claims, or expenses of the estate. A common misconception is that whoever is appointed Personal Representative is personally responsible for paying debts and expenses, and that is not necessarily the case. It may be that the Personal Representative pays some expenses upfront, such as the funeral expenses, but the personal representative is entitled to be reimbursed for those and certain other expenditures. For more information on Montgomery County funeral arrangements, contact a probate lawyer today.