Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance?

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Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance?

A proper estate plan is important for parents to be sure their wishes are known when they pass away. With it, children may receive what they are entitled to. In our guide, Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance, you need to know everything about the rights of siblings after a parent passes away.


The Rights of Siblings After the Death of Their Parents?

Regardless of the complexity of siblings’ rights after a parent passes away, the question of inheritance must be answered, resolved, and dealt with as soon as possible.

How to divide an estate between siblings? The inheritance rights of an only child are relatively straightforward. But they can quickly become complicated if you have siblings. Depending on the individual and specific circumstances, inheritance rights can vary greatly. When assembling an estate plan, it is important to understand sibling inheritance laws thoroughly.


In The Event of a Parent’s Death, Who Has Rights?

Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance?​A parent’s estate is usually left to their child or children, even if they did not include them in their Will. Certain states permit children to be a part of the parent’s estate, even if the parent did not mention the children as beneficiaries in the Will.

If the parent dies without a Will (known as dying intestate), the biological children usually have a claim to the parent’s estate. The majority of states, however, allow parents to disown their child or children entirely in their wills.

Parents may still have the right to contest a Will even if they disown their child in their Will. This is because they are deemed an interested party. A judge determines whether they get a share of their parent’s estate during the probate process when they contest the Will.

There are also ways to prevent disinherited children from contesting a Will. Establishing a Trust, for example, protects the estate from probate and eliminates the child’s right to contest.


Who Gets a Parent’s House After Their Death?

Parents often leave their homes as one of their most valuable assets when they pass away, along with investments and cash. If the parent left a Will, unless it contradicted in court, the parent must follow the stipulations of the Will. The court determines a homeowner’s ownership status through probate if the parent left no Will.

There is most likely a surviving spouse who will inherit the house in full. Without a surviving parent, the ownership will pass between siblings. If siblings cannot agree, they can file a lawsuit to force a sale of the home by selling it and splitting the proceeds. Siblings may also want to buy out one another.


Inheritance Rights of Siblings: What Are They?

There are no legal rights for siblings to inherit a brother’s or sister’s estate, as opposed to how siblings are usually entitled to inherit a parent’s estate. The most important factor is whether siblings have wills.

Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance? You can inherit an estate if your sibling passes away intestate (without a legally valid Will). Most of their estate will go to them if your sibling leaves behind a surviving spouse, a domestic partner, or children. Some or all of their estate may belong to you if they do not have children or a surviving spouse. The death of a family member will determine your inheritance, as with every other situation we have discussed so far.


Can We Live in The Inherited House?

Several factors will determine whether you can live in the home you were left, including the wills or trusts terms and any agreement you and your siblings reached.



Theoretically, if you and your siblings receive equal shares of a property in a will or trust, you all have access to that property once you have acquired it. However, it is impractical for siblings to use and enjoy the inherited property together. So, a second agreement about dividing the property will have to be reached.

For beneficiaries who want to take possession of a home, it is essential to consult a lawyer to determine the best way to enforce their rights. They need to remember that a partition action could ultimately lead to the property having to sell if their desire to remain in the house clashes with their siblings’ desire to sell it.

Alternatively, you could reside in the property before it goes out through a will or trust. However, it is feasible only if the fair value of the rental goes to the trust or estate.


Is It Possible for Your Sibling to Inherit Your Estate?

If your parent dies with a will, your sibling will receive their inheritance according to the Estate Plan. Your sibling can challenge the Will in court to claim a greater share of the inheritance. You and your siblings will receive equal estate shares if your parents die without an Estate Plan. There are, however, circumstances in which your sibling could claim more than one share of the estate.

A family member’s siblings can request a larger share of a deceased parent’s estate if they spend more time caring for the deceased parent than their siblings. Expenses incurred on their parent’s behalf can qualify them for a larger estate share.


Siblings Can Sue for Inheritance.

How to sue your brother? Brothers can Sue for Inheritance from their deceased parents if they feel that their brother or sister altered the Will with the intent to cheat them. In this case, the sibling can sue for invalidation.

Can you sue a sibling for inheritance? A will can be invalidated if the deceased suffered from Alzheimer’s, dementia, or another similar disease. It can also be invalidated if multiple witnesses did not sign it.


Estate disputes between siblings

There’s no way around it in the majority of families. It all depends on your relatives and the dynamics between them; conflicts from years ago could get more serious when a parent dies. Children who are emotionally tense and are amid the unknown of inheritance can create new issues or increase the severity of existing ones.


Can Siblings Have the Right to Sell the Inherited Property?

Can siblings force the sale of inherited property? If you inherit your parents’ house from your siblings and want to keep it in the family, can your siblings force you to sell it? Can I keep the house?

After filing a partition lawsuit, at least one of the following conditions: More than one owner owns the property, and you can force the property to sell by using one of the owners.

  • Co-owners refuse to sell the property when they want to sell.
  • Divining the property (e.g., dividing a house) is impossible.

The court generally cannot force anyone to remain a co-owner without consent. Therefore, a forced sale can happen even in cases where most co-owners wish to keep ownership of the property.

It is possible to settle a partition lawsuit out of court, even if it has started. Those who want to keep the home can negotiate a buyout agreement during the partition process. When such a settlement is impossible, the court usually decides to sell the property – at which point all the co-owners have no control.

Winners of partition suits have the right to request attorney’s fees and costs from the court. The party defending the partition action might have to pay for the litigation expenses of the other party, or the proceeds from the sale of the property might cover the costs.


Partitions Aren’t Appropriate When?

Co-owners can generally use partition actions to terminate their interest in a property by forcing its sale when it is co-owned. Some situations, however, make it impossible to file a partition action because the title to a property is binding.

Co-owners wondering how to stop a partition action should be aware that preventing it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, and that they must hire a probate lawyer to protect their ownership rights. Even if they intend to partition the jointly owned property, it is advisable to hire a probate lawyer.

The only person who can bring a partition action is the property owner who is the property owner. In the example above, you cannot be an owner of the home if you inherit it from your siblings, but the executor or trustee still needs to transfer the title. Therefore, you cannot bring a partition action against the home.

Having the executor or trustee residing rent-free in the home is wrong, but it does not constitute a partition action if they delay transferring or selling the home. If you employ an estate and trust lawyer and estate lawyer, you can ask the court to exile the trustee or executor from your estate and to charge the attorney.


What if a sibling will not sign probate?

Having your siblings sign the documents can be challenging in probate. However, several alternatives are available. You could ask the court to issue an order granting you power over the estate or designate an executor with legal rights by a single signature. Your sibling may also find a solution independently or through mediation or arbitration, hiring experts with experience in settling these disputes. 

Also, consider contacting them directly regarding why signing a contract is emotionally and financially crucial for all parties.

Suppose you consider these methods while looking for new ways to navigate this territory that’s not been explored. In that case, the chances are that results will be achieved in the end, solving any disputes between siblings over the signing of probate papers in the present.


Siblings Splitting Inherited Property: Common Solutions

Can suing siblings over estate? A beneficiary’s first step is to read the will or trust document when determining how property will be divided between siblings. Are you designated as a percentage owner of the home? Did the decedent provide instructions regarding whether to sell or keep in the family?

Executors and trustees generally have the right to dispose of the decedent’s property as they see fit when specific instructions regarding its disposition are lacking in the decedent’s estate planning documents. Fiduciaries, such as executors and trustees, are responsible for the best interests of the trust or estate. As a result, sometimes, they need to follow the beneficiaries’ wishes.

Considering your financial situation, whether you can afford the house, and your siblings’ preferences is key to deciding how to divide inherited property between siblings.

We can split inheriting a home with siblings in a variety of ways, including:


Selling the Home:

Selling the house and dividing the proceeds according to the percentage shares the Will or trust had assigned each sibling is typically the easiest solution when inheriting a house with siblings.


Renting the Home:

The siblings may lease the home if unwilling to part with it, but no one wishes to live there. They can divide the rental income amongst themselves.



The sibling who wants the house can offer to buy out the interest in the property of their other siblings if they do not want to keep it.


Private Arrangement Between Siblings:

In some cases, siblings can agree on how to divide property. For example, if a deceased relative leaves siblings equal shares in their primary house and vacation home, one sibling may take the primary residence. In contrast, the other may take the vacation property.

Similarly, if one sibling wants the house but cannot afford it, they may take out a loan against it or make monthly payments to their sibling with interest.).


Partition Actions:

Suppose siblings cannot reach an agreement on how to divide inheritance property. They may call the court to force a sale and terminate their ownership. When a sibling refuses to sell a house inherited by siblings, a partition lawsuit can be the only viable option for resolving conflict.


Can Brother Sue for Inheritance Without Involving the Court?

It is common for properties disposed of through a will to pass through probate, which is a court-supervised process. Property held by trusts, however, does not necessarily pass through probate.

Can My Brother Sue Me for My Inheritance? When siblings inherit property, the court only needs to get involved if they cannot agree about dividing it after the title has been passed on to them. Next, we’ll explore partition actions in more detail. When siblings cannot agree on a path forward, it becomes necessary to bring a partition suit.


Legal action against siblings

Sibling disagreements are a sensitive issue, particularly regarding legal action against siblings. The most common cause of disputes is when a beneficiary or trustee is questioned about the validity of a will or trust if an elderly parent dies. 

Inheritance issues often bring up the idea of bringing siblings before a judge for an infraction of a fiduciary obligation. It is a different method of resolving sibling disagreements in trusts and wills. In most cases, litigation is inevitable, and the law firm of Hess-Verdon can guide you through the probate procedure and sibling rivalries.


Bottom Line

Parents don’t want to leave their children with a mess after they pass away. So, having a valid and thorough estate plan in place is important. Only through planning estates will they be able to manage the assets and property of a will per the parents’ wishes upon their death.

Sibling rights after parents’ death aren’t automatically guaranteed. It takes planning and foresight to ensure things run exactly as they should. The Attorney Real Estate Group can assist you with your estate planning documents. So, you can relax knowing that you’re protecting your family.

Alec Stroup

ALEC STROUP Associate Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Alec...

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  Bio...