Action For Wrongful Death | Part 1

In this episode Attorney Chuck Franklin explains actions for wrongful death of a loved one.

Action For Wrongful Death Transcript

Hi folks, today I’m going to talk to you about an interesting topic. It’s also a sad topic because it deals with the death of a human being. Typically it is a spouse, son or daughter. In Arizona two people can bring – or two types of people can bring an action on behalf of the deceased. Let’s assume that you are the surviving spouse of a now deceased individual. You would be  a statutory beneficiary just like the mother or father of a child that is now deceased can bring an action.

You don’t want to bring it on behalf of the estate typically. That is generally a bad idea because everything gets thrown into a pile including all of the debt, including maybe the medical expenses of that person that is now dead. You would have to pay out any settlement proceeds to pay those expenses, but if you bring it on behalf of yourself and you are a statutory beneficiary then the money doesn’t go into the estate of the deceased to pay off all the bills. That includes a mortgage, credit cards, medical expenses, funeral expenses, things like that.

Bringing Action For Wrongful Death

So you come forward – let’s assume hypothetically you’re the spouse of a deceased individual  – you come forward and you are the statutory beneficiary (on behalf of the other statutory beneficiaries) to bring an action and to collect. Then if all of the statutory beneficiaries do not agree on a percentage of what is collected in terms of dividing up the pie, then a judge can decide that.

I’m giving you this in a nutshell to let you know that there are two different entities that can bring suite here. One are the statutory beneficiaries  – or one on behalf of all of them. Two the estate. Again, you typically want to stay away from bringing the suite as the estate in any kind of action. That is because settlement proceeds would  get dumped into the estate’s assets. Then debts would be paid and then what is left goes to the statutory beneficiaries. This may be pursuant to a will as well too.

My further suggestion is that all of you end up, at some point, getting a will drafted. Putting it in a safe place and sending copies to your close ones.  This way they have it in the event that something happens to you. It makes life easier for those that have survived you, it’s really an important thing. Having gone through that personally with myself and my mother, it is important that a will is drafted by the person that ends up passing away. It make’s your loved one’s lives a lot easier. Especially  when you have been appointed the executor or personal representative of that person.

Thank you.


If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance of any kind do not hesitate to contact Attorney Chuck Franklin here: (480) 545-0700