Asked in Civil LawsuitsEstatesCivil Process
What happens when a defendant in a lawsuit dies?
January 06, 2009 3:31PM
When any party to a lawsuit dies, the estate of the deceased party is substituted for the person. The estate executor or administrator then becomes the party in interest to handle the lawsuit. In most states, the executor/administrator will handle the lawsuit without having to consult with the ultimate beneficiaries before taking any action, such as settling. In practice though it is wise to get some feeling from the beneficiaries, since they might make some objections about a settlement and try to hold the executor/administrator liable for making a bad settlement. But once the ececutor/administrator does sign on the settlement, the beneficiaries cannot re-open the case just because they dislike the result.