Sadly many sibling disputes erupt after a parent dies, and it’s time to divide up the assets of an estate. Sibling disputes can often result in lengthy and expensive legal actions. However, a little forethought from parents can avoid such disputes, or they can be addressed by siblings who approach any problems that do occur in a pragmatic and unemotional way. In this article, sibling rights after parents death, we take a look at the options available to you.
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For a free initial discussion on how we can help you deal with an estate that has been left to you and your siblings, get in touch with us today. We will review your situation and discuss the options open to you in a clear and approachable manner. Early expert legal assistance can help ensure you understand your rights and will also help avoid the stress of dealing with these issues on your own. Simply call us on 0345 901 0445 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will get back to you.
What happens if there is no Will?
If you don’t have a Will when you pass away, your money, property and possessions will be shared out according to the law instead of your wishes. This can mean that they pass to someone you didn’t expect or that someone you wanted to pass things on to, ends up with nothing.
When a person dies without leaving a valid Will, their property (the estate) must be shared out according to certain rules. These are called the rules of intestacy.
Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy, including your children. If there is no Will a court will use the law to make many decisions about what happens to your assets and about who will take care of your child or children depending on their age..
Making a Will is your opportunity to make a clear plan that safeguards your children and the property that you want to leave to them.
Intestacy rules state what happens when there isn’t a Will in place, including who can and can’t inherit. The rules state who your estate will be divided between.
What happens depends on the value of the estate and whether you are married or in a civil partnership. That may determine whether your child receives anything from your estate. To find out more, speak to our expert Wills team today.
Estate-Planning Steps for Parents
Planning before death can address many of the issues that arise after a parent dies. Perhaps the most important action a parent can take is to have a Will that specifies which sibling receives what in terms of property. Consideration should be given to all the assets and who gets what can be spelled out in a Will. Alternatively, a parent can give directions that the house be sold and the proceeds divided evenly. If a parent wants to leave one sibling out of the will, this is legally permissible. There is no rule against disinheriting a child. However, to avoid legal challenges by a disinherited sibling, a parent should consider discussing the matter with the child or explaining the reason in the will.
Putting property in the joint name of a parent and child so that the asset passes automatically to the child when the parent dies is another way to avoid conflict. This can also be done with bank accounts.
It is good practice to review and update an estate plan after a major life event, such as the birth of a grandchild.
Using a non-sibling executor or trustee for the estate can also help keep the peace. A third party who does not stand to gain from any decisions regarding property distributions may be a good idea, particularly if a parent believes there could be sibling disputes after they die.
Parents usually know whether their children are likely to fight over their inheritance and should take action to prevent conflicts after their death. Whatever a parent decides, review actions from time to time. Feelings among siblings and financial circumstances can change, and plans should be revised accordingly. If steps are not taken before death, you can still use strategies to minimize conflict during the settlement of the estate.
If one of the siblings is not happy with the wording of the Will, he or she could sue the estate. This could be on the basis that reasonable provision was not made for him or her. This falls under Provisions for Family and dependants Act 1975. Any claim must be made within six months of the grant of probate and if this time has elapsed, permission of the court is required in order for a claim to be brought.
How we can help
We have a proven track-record of helping clients draft their wills and advise upon estates governed by the rules of intestacy. This includes relatively straightforward estates and also complex estates where assets are held all over the world. We will guide you through all the necessary legal due diligence in a comprehensive and timely manner. We firmly believe that with the right solicitors by your side, the entire process will seem more manageable and far less daunting.
How to Contact our Wills and Probate Solicitors
It is important for you to be well informed about the issues and possible implications of writing your Will or if you find yourself involved in an estate left without a Will. However, expert legal support is crucial in terms of ensuring your final wishes are met as you would want them to be or in guiding you along the path of intestacy.
To speak to our Wills and Probate solicitors today, simply call us on 0345 901 0445, or allow a member of the team to get back to you by filling in our online enquiry form. We are well known across the country and can assist wherever you are based. We also have offices based in Cheshire and London.