Help! My Siblings Are Fighting About Money and Property
May 2, 2023
Losing a parent is never easy, even if you’ve been expecting it for some time. But what can make this experience even more painful is also having to deal with family conflict over inheritance rights. When siblings fight over money and property, it creates an added level of stress to the situation and can often result in legal action if someone contests the will or how assets are distributed.
If you’d like to learn more about your options when siblings are fighting over inheritance, reach out to me, Eric H. Light, P.A., in Boca Raton, Florida, for assistance. I have everything necessary to assess the situation while keeping everyone’s best interests in mind.
Common Reasons Siblings Fight Over Inheritance
Sadly, family infighting after a parent or other family member passes away is all too common and can happen for several reasons. It’s important to understand why the disagreements are occurring to be able to address the problem:
The deceased’s wishes were unclear or not stated. Even if your deceased family member left a will, if it wasn’t drawn up by a qualified attorney, or if it hasn't been updated for several years, there may be disagreement about what they actually wanted. Oftentimes when language is unclear or vague, family members will argue over its meaning or what the true intentions of the deceased were.
Surprise in the will. If your loved one didn’t share the contents of their will with the family or revised it not long before they passed, there may be surprises that you weren't expecting. This could be assets left to someone outside of the family or even hidden assets that the family wasn’t aware of.
Unequal distribution. One common cause of sibling fighting is an unequal distribution to heirs. This occurs when one child gets more or less than another instead of each child getting the same amount.
Additional child after the will was created. Finally, if the deceased died before updating their will to include a new child, they could be left out of the inheritance altogether, unintentionally. This left-out sibling may feel slighted and wish to assert their claim to a portion of the inheritance.
If any of these situations apply to you, it is vital to contact a reliable attorney who can help you through the proper steps.
Dying Without a Will In Place
Dying intestate happens when an individual passes away without a will in place, and then the state’s laws on intestate succession take over. In Florida, this means that any assets that qualify under intestate succession law must be distributed according to specific rules. Assets, not a part of intestate succession, such as those in a trust or jointly owned, will not be subject to these rules.
Intestate Succession for Children of the Deceased
When there’s no will in place, the main question to answer is, “What do the children of a deceased parent inherit?” and it’s here that state law is quite clear. If you die with a spouse and children with that spouse, your spouse inherits 100% of your estate. However, if you have children with your spouse and your spouse has descendants from a previous relationship, then assets are split 50/50 between the spouse and your children. If there’s no surviving spouse, then the children inherit everything.
Options for Resolution
If you’re unable to resolve concerns with your siblings, you should contact a probate attorney who can advise you on your next steps. This could mean simply seeking guidance, using them as a mediator, or legally contesting a will or intestate succession laws. In any case, your lawyer will help you understand your options so you can make an informed decision going forward.
Turn to Eric H. Light, P.A. For Help
If you’re in the Boca Raton, Florida area and have questions about sibling or spouse inheritance after a loved one dies, call me, Eric H. Light, P.A., for legal help. I have the knowledge, experience, and skill to review your specific situation and craft a well-thought plan.