Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Kentucky

Death with no will, no assets, no next of kin

My husband's father passed away on Friday. He had no life insurance, no property, nothing of any value. His name is not listed on my husband's birth certificate, so there is no proof that he (my husband) is next of kin. We paid out of pocket for a cremation service, but do we have any legal liability to anyone?

Asked on 6/29/08, 10:16 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Thomas McAdam Thomas A. McAdam, III, Attorney
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Re: Death with no will, no assets, no next of kin

If you inherit something of value from a deceased relative, you may be responsible for certain of the deceased relative's debts (such as burial costs, medical, tax, and other bills due); but your responsibility is only up to the amount of your inheritance. That is, you are never responsible for paying the debts of a deceased relative above and beyond the value of what you inherited.

In the case you describe, with a relative who left nothing of value, you have no legal obligation to pay any of his debts. If, on the other hand, you specifically contract with a funeral home, cemetery, or cremation service, you are personally responsible for only the costs you have agreed to pay.

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6/30/08, 12:26 pm

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