Do estate distributions have to be equal?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | Estate Administration

You always assumed that your parents would make things roughly equal when they left their assets to you and your sibling. That’s why you’re so shocked when they pass away and the estate plan reveals that your sibling gets 90% of the assets that your parents owned.

Frustrated, you decide that you want to challenge the will. Are you able to do so on the grounds that the will does not provide equal bequests and is simply too unfair in one person‘s favor?

Unequal bequests are growing more common

Not only is it completely legal for an estate plan to be unequal, but these types of bequests have been becoming more common in recent years. Someone who makes an estate plan has the right to split up their assets in any fashion that they choose, and they can favor one person if they would like. That alone isn’t grounds for a will contest. 

That being said, this unfairness could be an indicator that you have reason to challenge the estate plan. It depends on why the bequests are unequal.

For instance, perhaps there’s an older copy of the will where you and your sibling did get equal amounts, which is why this is what you assumed would happen. Then, right before your parents’ passing, they updated the estate plan to change things and leave 90% to your sibling. You may believe that they only did so because of undue influence from your sibling, or you may even believe that that sibling created a fraudulent estate plan. 

In other words, this can be a very complicated process with a lot of details to consider. Be sure you understand your legal rights at this time.