Originally posted on https://www.collateralbase.com/trust-litigation/
Unequal Inheritance Between Siblings? Before You Fight, Read This.
Unequal Inheritance Between Siblings
Did you know you can contest a will in court? If you’re upset over an unequal inheritance between siblings in a family agriculture business, click here.
Losing a parent or close family member is one of the most difficult things an individual can go through. While it should be a time where you can lean on those that are closest to you, an unequal inheritance between siblings can cause family distress during an already painful time. While it may be a difficult choice to make, you have the option to contest the inheritance of a family agricultural business.
If you feel that your sibling has unfairly inherited an uneven share of your family agriculture business, read on for more information on when and how to contest the inheritance.
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What to Do When Faced with an Unequal Inheritance between Siblings
First, it’s important to keep calm and refrain from any emotional disputes with your sibling. Remember that your sibling has also suffered a great loss, and see if they can be reasoned within a one-on-one conversation. Handling things outside of court is always preferable for family, especially after a loss
However, if your sibling refuses to compromise, it’s important to take the steps necessary to claim what’s rightfully yours. This may mean seeking legal council and contesting the inheritance in court.
Trusts vs. Wills
It’s important to remember that there’s a vast difference between a trust and a will. To contest a will, it is required to fil a petition for probate. It is a situation that the court must be involved in every step of the way, and will assure that no one receives any money without a court order.
Trusts, however, are typically administered outside of a court, and as a result, require a different method for contesting. This does not mean that trust cannot be contested.
A trust can also be contested on the same grounds as a will, which involves proving the lack of capability of the individual inheriting the bulk of the agricultural business.
This means the individual contesting the trust will have to demonstrate a lack of capacity, fraud, undue influence, or valid reason why the document does not hold up in court.
When to Involve an Attorney
Since there are many steps in contesting both a will and a trust, many individuals often turn to legal counsel to help ensure assets are divided evenly.
Sometimes, an attorney can help the two parties settle without the issue ever taking in place in court. However, if it reaches a court, an attorney will take it upon themselves to disprove the validity of the document or to prove that the decision is not in the best interest of the business.
It’s also important to have an attorney in the event of a counter lawsuit, in which they will represent your defense in court.
Making Decisions Quickly
While it may be tempting to allow things to “cool off” after an inheritance reading, the odds are in your favor if you act quickly.
Your attorney may advise you to file the lawsuit right away, or in the least sending a letter to your sibling’s attorney with a request to negotiate.
This is because once the inheritance has been drawn upon, it becomes much more difficult to have it redistributed.
Most times, there’s also a window of time in which you can contest a will or trust, so it’s best to discuss your options with an attorney as early on as possible.
Remember, There’s a Good Chance You’ll Settle
While taking your sibling to court may be overwhelming, it’s important to remember that most of such cases will settle. While it may cause some stress in the short run, it can save a relationship further down the road to know that both parties believe they inherited what they deserved.
A good attorney will involve a settlement strategy in their litigation to help prevent the case from ever reaching a court room.
This can also be the make or break for a family agriculture business, which means parties are more open to reaching a compromise.
Finding the Right Attorney
For such sensitive matters, it’s important to find an attorney you can rely on. Ask for referrals from those close to you or professionals that may have had similar cases on their hands.
Be sure to look into the reputation of the attorney, and their experience with cases specifically involving family agriculture business. You also want to avoid looking for “cheap” options. Those charging too little or agreeing to take on the case on a contingency fee are less likely to know what they’re doing.
The Support You Need In and Out of Court
An unequal inheritance between siblings can lead to a roller coaster of emotions, a long court process, and family strain. Which is why it’s important to find an attorney that fully understands the process.
The right attorney will make contesting the will short and straightforward and will do whatever they can to have the issue settled before ever reaching a courtroom.
If you need to contest an inheritance of your family agricultural business and are seeking professional counsel that can help, contact us today. We will sit down with you to discuss your case and give you a realistic take on what you’re up against and what you can expect from the process. We’re here to help you claim what’s rightfully yours and to support you every step of the way.