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No Will, What's Fair?

Published on July 5, 2012 by bhamchik

My mom died on Mother's Day 2012. I haven't been able to locate a will indicating her final wishes pertaining to her estate. I'm currently going through probate to become the excutor of her estate. She only had two children, my brother and I. He, however, lives in another state with his wife and hasn't had very much to do with my mom since he moved away. She use to call to beg him to visit and when she became ill never really even lifted a finger to help. I, on the other hand, live in the same state where she lived and tried my very best to help her (more often than not) including but not limited to doctor visits, hospital stays, calling her daily, checking on her, etc. Basically I did what I was suppose to do which was to spend quality time with her and assist her as much as I could. She listed me as her only beneficiary on her life insurance. My brother doesn't like this. Since she has passed away my brother has a sudden sense of entitlement. I'm guess splitting things in half may probably be best, but my brother is well to do and didn't lift a finger while she was living. I've spoken to several attorneys who have told me to only share heir property, but anything with my name only on it to keep for myself. What's fair?

ANSWERS

What is in your name is yours! What is in his name is his! The rest! Split it! Just to get him out of your life! I knew a man that took care of his mom til the end. then! when his mom died! His brother from out of nowhere found out about it! Called his brother and asked him this, that, the other, he even threatened to take him to court just to get his fair share. This man called the family lawyer told him what his brother said to him about taking him to court so on! The lawyer told him"don't worry about it"! In the long run! His mom gave her son (the 1 that took care of her!) all the money and everything!!! So! do as I suggested and see what happens, always! talkto the lawyer 1st.!

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm also sorry your mother didn't make up a clear will before she passed.

As far as the life insurance-- you were the sole beneficiary, so that money is yours to keep. All other property would be best sold and divvy the proceeds straight down the middle. If you or he wishes to keep sentimental pieces, those pieces should be appraised and the value deducted from the respective person's share. All costs incurred from managing the estate sale (appraisals, cleaning, trash removal, etc) should be deducted from the estate before it is divided. That is the fair way to divide everything up.

Now, if you want to talk about the emotions of everyone involved, you also have to consider what type of relationship you have with your brother versus what type of relationship you want going forward. Refusal to split everything down the middle including the life insurance payment (which was yours) could result in alienation from your brother. If you don't have a good relationship with your brother, then it's not a big deal. If you are or want to be close with your brother, then you may also want to take that into account. But no matter what he says, neither you (nor your late mother) OWES him anything.

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