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Agreements of Executor or Administrator

15 January, 2016 - 09:33

The rule: the promise by an executor or administrator of an estate to answer personally for the debt or other duty of the deceased is analogous to the surety provision—it must be evidenced by some writing if it is to be enforced over an objection by the would-be obligor. For an agreement to be covered by the statute, there must have been an obligation before the decedent’s death. Thus if the executor arranges for a funeral and guarantees payment should the estate fail to pay the fee, an oral contract is binding, because there was no preexisting obligation. If, however, the decedent has made his own arrangements and signed a note obligating his estate to pay, the executor’s promise to guarantee payment would be binding only if written.

The exception: the main purpose exception to the surety provision applies to this section of the Statute of Frauds as well as to the “promises to pay the debts of another” section, noted earlier.