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Hi, this is Stewart Albertson with Albertson & Davidson.  And I want to talk to you about a problem that we do see from time to time in trust and will cases and it’s a hard one to solve.  And that has to do where your mom or dad give all of their assets to one sibling and simply tell that sibling, “Hey, make sure you give everything in equal shares to your other – your sister and brother.”

What we find is that the sibling that gets all those assets from mom and dad, they’ll tell mom and dad, “Oh, sure, I’ll make the distribution equally.”  But then, when mom and dad aren’t there any longer and have passed away, that sibling has a change of heart and chooses not to distribute the assets evenly between the siblings.

These are tough cases.  You can file a petition with the probate court.  And under the totality of the facts and circumstances, witness testimony, hopefully some documentary evidence that your parents wanted to treat you all equally, you might be able to resolve the matter.

The better way for this to happen is for you to see this video before you mom and dad pass away and if you hear your mom and dad saying, “Hey, I’m just going to give everything to this sibling and they’re going to give it out to everybody,” that’s really not a good way to do it.  It’s not fair to that sibling to put them in that type of pressure situation anyway, because they’re going to be tempted to keep all the assets.  You’d be much better to have a valid will or a valid trust, or perhaps both, that shows how the distribution is to go at the date of death.  That’s much better than spending a year and a half or two of litigation trying to determine if, in fact, the one sibling that did get everything, if they were supposed to share that with all the siblings.