When it comes to making a will, most parents want to ensure that all children are treated equally. As such, parents will typically provide for the equal distribution of their estate amongst their children.
So how does this equal division actually occur?
The equal division of a decedent’s financial assets is fairly straightforward. However, when it comes to real property, such as the family home, equal division can become complex. Many times, family members who inherit shares of real property get along well and are able to work together to come up with a solution. For instance, the parties may agree to sell the property and split the proceeds evenly. Sometimes, one family member chooses to retain the real property and forgo receiving a portion of the financial or other assets that are distributed amongst the other family members. Alternatively, the parties could work out a buy-out arrangement in which a family member who wishes to keep the property pays the other parties for their shares.
Unfortunately, siblings may disagree as to whether or not to sell the family home, or as to who gets to keep the property. If family members do not get along and an agreement cannot be made, intervention may be necessary. An executor will be responsible for playing referee between feuding family members. If the executor is not able to successfully mediate between the parties, it is a good idea to work with an attorney to help the parties come to a settlement. If the parties are still unable to settle, a partition suit may be necessary. A partition suit involves a forced sale by the sheriff. A partition sale often results in a low sales price, and it can make the parties financially worse off than they would have been through a settlement.
If you are the executor or beneficiary under a will involving real property, an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney at the Quitmeier Law Firm can guide you through the distribution process.