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The death of your parent can be traumatic for you and your siblings. The effects can be physical, emotional, or psychological. However, understanding siblings’ rights after parents’ death are critical if you want your parent’s estate to be distributed fairly.

If your parents have a Will or Trust, you’re entitled to inherit their estate after their death. But what if your parents did not leave a Will or Trust? or if the terms of their Will or Trust are invalid? How will their estate be distributed?

Parents could leave their children with memories they will never forget. They may also leave debts or assets for the children to deal with.

In this article, let’s talk about the siblings’ rights after your parents’ deaths.

 

If my parents have a Will, what sibling’s rights after parents’ death do I have?

 

When both your parent dies, there are typically a lot of questions about your parent’s estate. One common question is what happens to the estate if the parents die with a will?

Generally, the Will dictates who inherits the estate and how it is divided among heirs. You have certain rights that must be respected if you are a beneficiary named in your deceased parent’s will.

If you are an heir who was not named in the will, you may be able to contest it.

To do so, file a petition with the court and provide evidence demonstrating why the will should not be honored. Allegations of fraud, undue influence, or lack of mental capacity are among the most common reasons for contesting a will. If this happens to you, consider hiring an attorney to help you assist in fighting your rights.

 

What if they die without a will, what are my sibling’s rights after parents’ death?

 

If both your parents died intestate (without a will), the state’s intestacy laws will dictate how the estate is divided. Typically, the siblings are granted custody of any minor children. Moreover, the estate is divided among them under state intestacy law.

These laws vary by state, but you and your siblings will usually receive an equal share of the estate. If your deceased parent remarried, the surviving spouse and your half-siblings may be entitled to a share of the estate.

Under intestacy law, adopted children have the same legitimate right to inherit a parent’s property as biological and marital children.

If your parents died without a will, the intestate property passes in the following order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Descendants (children or grandchildren)
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings (and children of deceased siblings)

This is a typical scenario in most states, including Florida.

What are some issues that can occur on Intestate Succession?

 

There are several scenarios under which the preceding estate distribution scheme might not work as intended.

Scenario 1: You have a spouse and an adult child from a previous relationship. However, you are disconnected from him/her and want your spouse to inherit everything.

 

Without a will, regardless of your relationship with that estranged child, half of your estate would be distributed to him.

Scenario 2: You have no living spouse, children, or parents, but have three siblings. One of whom you are close to and the other two of whom you barely know or don’t know.

 

Your estate would be divided equally among your three surviving siblings under state intestacy law. This is true even if some of them are half-blood relatives.

Scenario 3: You want your estate to benefit a favorite charity, a close friend, or even your beloved pet.

 

You may be estranged from all of your living relatives, but this is impossible without a carefully drafted will.

Naturally, the above-mentioned outcomes may not be appealing to you. That’s why it’s critical to work with an experienced estate attorney to draft a last will.

 

Do all siblings have the right to see a Will or Trust?

 

Unfortunately, no.

According to the law, Wills and Trusts are only made available to beneficiaries. However, not necessarily to family members who are not named in the will or trust. This means that non-named beneficiaries’ siblings have no legal right to see it.

If they are not named, it is usually for personal reasons. Reasons such as second marriages or if one sibling received the majority of all the inheritance in previous years.

When a parent dies and leaves the majority of their assets to one child while leaving none to the others, the wronged children may believe that the sibling who received everything altered the will in some way. Perhaps by coercing the parent into changing things or forgery.

Other family members understandably want answers in these situations.

 

This is where a probate attorney, comes in.

 

Consider hiring a probate attorney if you’re having problems with the probate process, such as:

  1. Disputes over specific assets or property inheritance
  2. Will interpretation disputes
  3. Issues of will fraud, coercion, or undue influence
  4. Challenges to heir or beneficiary status
  5. Spousal rights assertions
  6. Disputes over inheritance and estate taxes

If you are struggling with these matters, Stokes Law Group is a team of experienced and knowledgeable lawyers. They are committed to providing high-quality services.

It is difficult to deal with such matters on your own. Stokes Law Group provides clients with top-of-the-line representation and guidance throughout the process. From drafting wills and trusts to assisting with estate settlement and probate. Stokes Law Group will be by your side every step of the way.

If you want to schedule a meeting, feel free to fill check out our interactive guided consultation here.

For an additional read: here’s a quick guide about the things to know before hiring an estate planning attorney. 

 

In conclusion…

 

Once your parents are gone, there will be no one who will look after you and your siblings. Moreover, there will be an arising conflict between siblings about your parent’s assets if they don’t communicate with each other properly.

If your parents died with a will, the will specifies who inherits your parents’ estate. It also states how it is divided among heirs. As a beneficiary named in your deceased parent’s will, you have certain rights that must be respected.

If your parents died without a will, the intestate property passes in the following order:

  1. Spouse
  2. Descendants (children or grandchildren)
  3. Parents
  4. Siblings (and children of deceased siblings)

This is a typical scheme in most states, including Florida.