• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

A child's legal responsibility to manage a parent's estate

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.


Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Nebraska
My parents are in their 70s and will certainly die without a will. They have a home and other assets such as cars and an RV, all of which are mortgaged to the maximum. They have tax liens, bankruptcy and will certainly have many other creditors upon their death. Here is my question - as their child will I be legally responsible for managing their estate? Can I refuse? If the law holds me responsible, is there something I can do now to remove myself from this responsibility? I know that I would not be financially liable for their debts, but I do not want to deal with their assets or even any leftover inheritance after creditors are paid. What is my legal obligation? If no one else steps up to manage their estate will the courts hold me responsible?


Senior Member
No, you are not responsible for administering your parents' estates. You can walk if you like. But, when you do walk, just don't try to take any of their assets with you.

However, consider... The personal representative is entitled to a reasonable fee for performing the duty - before the creditors get paid. May not be worth it to you....


Junior Member
Thank you for your response. I am not interested in their assets or any payment. Since there is no one but me, I didn't know if I'd be forced by the court to manage their assets/liabilities upon their passing.

Thanks again.

Dandy Don

Senior Member
Have you asked them if they have a will? If you don't want to handle their estate, if your county has a public administrator he will be asked to do it.


Junior Member
They do not have a will and I am certain they will not ever have one. They'll just leave their financial mess for someone else to take care of - and I am so relieved to hear it doesn't have to be me. I probably sound a little angry here - I'm not. I love my parents but I've spent my entire life working hard, providing a good life for my family, saving for retirement, building good credit, paying my bills, you know just being financially responsible like most people are. But as they are getting older I have become concerned that when they are gone someone has to sell their house, their cars, go through their stuff, deal with whatever is left when they are gone. I just don't want to deal with all of the financial problems they've created. I'm sure it will be a mess. And if in the end there is actually money left over to inherit I am happy to forfeit it to whoever had the unfortunate experience of dealing with the mess they created!

Thank you so much for your reply ~ this has been keeping me awake at night!

Find the Right Lawyer for Your Legal Issue!

Fast, Free, and Confidential