When a family member passes away, their estate is typically split amongst their spouse, other family members, and any beneficiaries left in their will. For those with siblings, the inheritance process can quickly become confusing. Understanding the process is crucial before going through the terms of a sibling’s will.
When distributing a decedent’s estate to their heirs, a sequence of inheritance is used. Siblings are typically not given priority in the line of succession. Intestacy and intestate succession are relevant in this situation. The two most significant aspects of inheritance issues deal with these concepts. Intestacy occurs when a person dies without leaving a will or when a portion of their property is not included in their will. Their estate (all they own, including debts) will probably be administered in probate court and governed by the intestacy laws of their state.
The inheritance of the deceased is divided among heirs through intestate succession. Generally, the partner or spouse, children (including biological and adopted), and their living parents come first in the intestate succession sequence. If they had grandchildren who are now adults but had deceased parents, the grandchildren might be entitled to an inheritance. If a person passes away without a surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, grandchildren, or parents, their siblings are the ones to inherit the estate. Sibling inheritance laws typically apply when a person passes away without making a will or a trust or when all the beneficiaries designated in the will have passed away.
The amount of each child’s intestate share of their sibling’s estate will depend on how many siblings the departed has, as well as if the deceased has a surviving spouse, following California inheritance laws. In California, a sibling can only inherit from their sibling’s intestate if they are related by blood or legally adopted by the same parents. Conversely, non-adoptive foster children and stepchildren are not automatically entitled to a portion. If the following are demonstrated, a foster child or stepchild may occasionally inherit:
A sibling does not inherit anything from their sibling’s estate if a parent never officially adopted them. If a child born outside of their parent’s marriage can show that they were recognized as a legitimate child by one’s parents, who made financial contributions toward their upbringing, they can be entitled to a share of a settled estate.
Because of an assumed line of inheritance, siblings occasionally try to disinherit their other siblings in a will to ensure that they do not get any portion of the deceased’s estate. Other times, the causes are unique to each person and can vary greatly. Three particular justifications for excluding relatives from a will are as follows:
Those writing their wills must specifically state that they ultimately decide to deny an inheritance to a sibling or other relative. Simply excluding them from the paper is insufficient. Instead, these clauses need to be outwardly specified in the will documents, explaining how these people are barred from receiving an inheritance. One must update their will right away if they intend to disinherit any family members but later change their mind and decide to leave them something.
A: When siblings inherit property, such as a house, ownership is divided equally unless the will expressly states otherwise. The decision of whether the house will be sold and the proceeds split, if one sibling will purchase the interests of the others, or if ownership will remain joint, is up to the siblings to decide.
A: For dividing a parent’s estate, the line of inheritance will be outlined in their declared will. However, if a sibling passes, the remaining siblings will only inherit their belongings if that sibling had no living spouse, child, domestic partner, adopted child, grandchild, or parent when they passed away without leaving a will. If so, equally divided inheritances are awarded to the surviving siblings.
A: In the absence of a will, each sibling is entitled to an equal share of the estate. If one sibling feels they deserve a larger share, they may look for another way to get a piece of the estate. A sibling may request a larger inheritance if they increased their care for the deceased and were guaranteed a larger share of the estate. They are entitled to reimbursement or have provided specialty services to the departed for which payment is due.
A: California does not impose an inheritance tax, but they rely on their familial connection to the deceased and the state in which the deceased resided or possessed real estate. Inheritance taxes are never levied on surviving spouses. Depending on the state, different immediate family members, such as the deceased’s parents, children, and siblings, are excluded in differing degrees. They can be eligible to receive a certain amount tax-free as well as a reduced tax rate on the remaining amount.
After the death of a loved one, settling an estate means dividing any assets based on the deceased’s will and establishing a line of inheritance. Parents and siblings alike, if there are no surviving spouses to inherit a person’s estate, will receive their property. Inheritance may seem complicated, but with the help of an experienced probate attorney, seeking help with these dilemmas is within reach. To get started on an inheritance settlement, contact Sweeney Probate Law today.