The Division Of Assets
The division of assets between siblings can be controversial in trust litigation, especially if they are not divided equally. Often, the point of the controversy centers on the parents’ true intentions. However, this can be hard to discern when the final document may only sometimes reflect their true intentions, and the narrative of what the parents want varies between siblings.
The ultimate question is whether parents must leave their assets equally to all children. Simply put, no. Creators of an estate document can leave their assets to whomever they choose, including non-family members. Similarly, the division of assets is also up to the Settlor’s discretion; this means they can leave a majority of assets to one beneficiary, split assets equally between all beneficiaries, or even disinherit a beneficiary. Settlors are free to do what they see fit, even if it does not coincide with what the family expects or wants.
Typically skewed division of assets between siblings can arise from family dynamics or possible controversy. Often in situations where one sibling receives a majority of assets, it is because of a prior promise a parent made to them. Sometimes parents leave larger portions of assets to financially struggling children or the caregiving child to compensate for their time and efforts. If there is a strained relationship between a parent and child, the division of assets can also reflect that. However, there are situations when the skewed division is a product of undue influence for similar reasons. Often we find that siblings who feel they are more deserving of the assets take matters into their own hands and manipulate the estate documents to what they see fit.
Overall, parents can leave unequal shares of their estate to their children, it just takes a skilled attorney to discern whether it was done unlawfully.
If you believe your parent’s estate has been jeopardized or are experiencing a similar situation, please reach out to The Inheritance Recovery Attorneys. Our firm offers free consultations and specializes in Trust and Will litigation. We are here to help you protect your inheritance and ensure your loved one’s wishes are fulfilled honestly.