What happens when siblings disagree about an inheritance?

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2022 | Wills

In an ideal world, parents discuss inheritance issues with their adult children and address any concerns they may have. There may be misunderstandings about who gets what that the parents should resolve while there is still time. But life doesn’t always run that smoothly in Georgia.

Resolving problems when there is a will

A will may specify that the estate is shared equally among the testator’s offspring. In this case, there is less room for arguments. However, if one or more of the siblings unexpectedly receives a larger share, there’s bound to be a discussion.

If the situation escalates uncontrollably, it’s a good idea to bring in a neutral mediator before the family tears itself apart. That individual will listen to everyone’s input and recommend one or more ways to compromise.

Another potential hotspot develops when the parent leaves a joint interest in the home to all the siblings. In this case, there are three options. They can sell, rent or live in the house. One possible solution, in this case, is to have the ones who want to live in it pay a fair market price to the other siblings for their share of the property.

Issues that arise when there is no will

When someone dies without a will, this is known as dying intestate. Since there is no will that specifies beneficiaries, the state decides. Georgia’s intestate law states that if you die without a spouse, your biological and adopted children inherit equal assets after the estate pays outstanding debts.

Arguments may still erupt within the family about whether or not someone deserves an equal share. Once again, a mediator may be able to cool tempers and have everyone agree to a decision that they may not like but is one that they can live with.

Last resort

Wills and probate issues can be complex and frustrating, and sometimes, there is no legal recourse for being angry or disappointed with the will’s contents. However, siblings can contest the will if they believe that someone unduly influenced their parent or that the parent was mentally incapacitated when they signed the will.

Ensure your children receive what you want them to have once you’re gone. Create a will and discuss the document with them.