Pennsylvania  |  Wills and Trusts

Legal Question

Asked on: 1/25/13, 11:11 am

So here is my story,

I was divorced from my first wife back in 1996. We had two daughters together. Through the course of the years, there have been threats, button pushing, and numerous strings pulled on her part. Moved the kids to the other side of the country and cut all contact I had with them. This is just some history. Fast forward to last year, by this time I had re-established communications with my oldest daughter – but not my youngest, who still lived with her mother. My 21 year old daughter was the passenger in a fatal car crash. I went to her funeral, where the mother told me she had insurance for the funeral and did not need/want anything from me. The other girl in the car (the underage driver – 17 I believe) was/is in a coma – and there are several stories as to what really happened that early morning in the car. Everything from the girls returning home from work and didn’t see the curve, to they were following boys home from a bar and speeding badly. My ex, it bears mentioning, is a sue happy person. I believe that she is trying to sue the poor girl’s family for our daughter’s death.

Ok, now to the issue. I have received a communication from my ex’s lawyer, asking me to sign a renunciation letter so that my ex “can be sole executer to the estate”. There is no estate, she had no assets. The letter from the lawyer said that I was “in no way renouncing” my claim to anything I am entitled to from the estate. I have no desire for anything financial or otherwise from her estate. However, I would like anything that would come to me, to go to my remaining daughter instead. I sent an email to the lawyer asking for time to look over the document. Very reasonable I thought.

Less than 24 hours later I received a threatening email directly from my ex, saying that if I refuse to sign that letter I will be responsible for ½ the funeral (which insurance covered and I had NO say in the what/when/where/how of it – which I do not complain about, just fact) and ½ her attorney fees to boot… She is estimating some bs number of about 20k. If I sign, then I give up my half of the proceeds from her lawsuit right? Then I cannot give that to my daughter?

I do not wish to hire an attorney myself, but I also do not want to be hit with a ridiculous bill either. What exactly is she able to legally compel me to do or pay? What are my legal responsibilities with regards to this? And am I able to at least make sure that any legal action on her part (suing the family or insurance company) that results in monetary gain, goes to my surviving daughter?

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