How to Divide Inheritance Property Between Siblings

When someone dies, inherited property is not merely handed out in an arbitrary fashion. The distribution of an inheritance must always follow authorized written instructions. If the decedent drafted a will or trust document before his death, those documents provide the authority for an executor or administrator to distribute the estate. If someone dies without a will, or "intestate," then the state of the decedent's residence will determine the proper recipients for the possessions of the estate. If you are handed the responsibility of dividing inheritance property between siblings, you must follow the written authority that you are given.

Step 1

Get the proper estate distribution documents. In many cases, this will consist of a valid will and/or trust of the decedent. In the absence of these, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate.

Step 2

Verify your role as executor or administrator. You must be named in the will or trust of the decedent to be in charge of the disbursement of the estate, or else you must be appointed the administrator by the decedent's state of residence.

Step 3

Bring the will to the city or county office in charge of estate disbursements. If the will is valid, the appropriate office will accept it for probate and confirm that the named representative in the will has the authority to proceed. In the case of a trust document, no probate is necessary, so you do not have to bring the trust document to any government authorities.

Step 4

Open a bank account in the name of the decedent's estate. All income and disbursements should pass through this account.

Step 5

Itemize the property of the estate. In most cases, a will or trust will not account for every single piece of property that belonged to the decedent. If the decedent's instructions are to split inheritance property between siblings, you must first account for all of the available property to make a fair and equitable distribution.

Step 6

Pay the estate's bills. Before you can split property between siblings, you must satisfy any debts or financial obligations that the estate owes. This money must come out of the decedent's property before it is available for distribution.

Step 7

Contact the heirs. Inform them of the distribution they are to receive. Get account information from the siblings so you can directly distribute the inheritance property into their accounts.

Step 8

Split the inheritance property per the intentions of the decedent. If the instructions are to divide all property equally between siblings, you have the authority to use your best judgment as to how to proceed. For example, if there are two cars available for distribution, one valued at $100,000 and the other valued at $10,000, you will most likely have to add a $90,000 supplement of cash or other property to the $10,000 car distribution to make the split equitable.

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