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Resolving disputes over shared inheritance

On Behalf of | Jan 7, 2022 | Estate Administration

When it comes to inheriting an asset from a loved one, some are easier to share than others. Cash is easy to split between two or more people. When a friend or family member leaves one particular asset to more than one person, it can make honoring that request a challenge.

In some cases, an estate plan may outline the details about how the interested parties should share the asset. However, in many cases, it is up to the people involved to come to an agreement about the asset.

These are some of the options for sharing an asset with other inheritors.

Sell and split

The simplest way to resolve a dispute over who gets to keep a specific asset is to sell it and divide the money between the people involved. While there may be some remaining disagreements on the sale price, it can be an effective solution.

However, selling the item is not typically the best solution when the asset has high sentimental value.

Alternate time or share

When more than one person inherits an asset like a house or vehicle, and no one wants to sell, another option is to develop a way to share the property. You may want to consider ideas, such as:

  • Use an inherited house as a shared vacation property
  • Alternate weeks/months with a shared vehicle
  • Develop a cohabitating arrangement for a shared house

When all interested parties agree on an alternative arrangement, everyone can share the sentimental value of the asset they inherited from a loved one.

Buy the others out

If you and the other beneficiaries cannot agree, consider offering to purchase their shares of the asset. While they may have imagined having it for themselves, they may prefer selling their share so that the asset stays in the family.

It is essential to handle inheritance disputes carefully. While the asset is important to all of you, you should still strive to maintain your relationship as well.

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