From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: Before she died, my mother-in-law lived in my Montgomery County, Pennsylvania house and required around-the-clock care, which I provided. My husband’s brother and sister did not even visit. Now that she has died, her estate is being divided up between the children and they refuse to compensate me for all the work I did caring for their mother. Can I make a claim to be paid?
Your mother-in-law’s estate is to be divided up between the heirs as her will dictates, or through the rules of intestacy if she had no will. Prior to the division of the assets, all creditors must be paid. Because you had no agreement showing that you were doing the work for a fee, it will be difficult to prove that you are a creditor.
Family members often take care of other ill family members without compensation, so you would need to prove that this work was done under an agreement with her and that you both expected that you would be paid. That being said, the heirs can agree to give you some of the estate as compensation for your work. (However, if they would agree to that, I imagine you would not have needed to write this question.)
If you have questions about Probate in Montgomery County, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.