What to do if a child thinks that they have been “shorted” in their share of their late mother’s estate?

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What to do if a child thinks that they have been “shorted” in their share of their late mother’s estate?

A mother died 13 years ago, leaving her assets to her 2 daughters in the form of Pay on Death distributions. There was no Will. She gave 1 daughter more assets than the other. This daughter passed away 2 years ago and also had no Will, so everything is going to her husband. The probate of her estate is just about finished and now the other sister is insisting that the mother’s assets should have been equally divided and she is entitled to an amount she was “shorted”. Does she have a valid claim? The surviving daughter has nothing in writing and didn’t file a claim during the posting period for creditors.

Asked on July 7, 2013 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is difficult in this forum to determine for sure because one would like to see all the documents in question here.  But it sounds as if the Mother did a bit of estate planning and that she designated beneficiaries on her accounts prior to her death.  This planning allowed the estate assets to pass automatically to each of her daughters without the necessity of probate.  That means that they were distributed as per her desires, and the estate did not have to be probated.  So they both received what their Mother wished them to regardless of their perception of fairness. Unless there was undue influence by one of the siblings it is what it is and as you say, the time to complain has probably passed.  Good luck.


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