If Sibling A and Sibling B both agree a Will is unfair and Sibling A is the executor, can they “make things right” and divide the assets more equally?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

If Sibling A and Sibling B both agree a Will is unfair and Sibling A is the executor, can they “make things right” and divide the assets more equally?

Asked on November 5, 2014 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No...and yes, in a way.

No, they may not NOT change the distribution of the assets set out in the will--it doesn't matter if one is the executor and between them they inherit everything, since the will reflects the instructions of the testator (the person who died). A beneficiary under a will may refuse to take some or all of his or her inheritance, but he or she cannot then direct where it goes--it will be distributed as per the will, or if the will does not cover this situation, will be distributed as per intestate succession (who inherits when there is no will).

But once a person inherits something, it is his or hers, and he or she can give it (or sell it, trade it, etc.) to anyone he or she wants, subject just to tax considerations (e.g. the gift tax; possibly income tax for the recipient). So after A and B inherit, they can re-distribute the inheritance however they like, just bearing in mind the taxes (so they should probably consult with a CPA about how best to accomplish their their goals with minimal tax consequences).


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption