Can a debt owed be deducted from an inheritance?

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Can a debt owed be deducted from an inheritance?

My mother received money from her mother’s estate to be divided among the

grandchildren. My mother deducted money from debt i owed my sibling and a

disputable debt with her. Is this legal?

Asked on August 15, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, what you describe is not legal. Your mother has no authority to change the terms of inheritance from your grandmother's estate: if your grandmother left (i.e. willed) a certain amount of money to you, your mother had to pass that on to you. You could sue your mother for the additional money. In the lawsuit, you'd need to show the terms of the will and that your mother did not honor them. Bear in mind that if you do legitimately owe your mother or your sibling money (e.g. for an un-repaid loan), that person could in turn sue you for the money you owe them.


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