Sometimes we are led to believe that sibling rivalry only exists within childhood. Unfortunately, sibling rivalry can exist beyond childhood and beyond the teenage years. Sibling rivalry can even affect something as sensitive as probate and estates. If a sibling rivalry is affecting probate and estates, the probate process can therefore become a very arduous process to complete. It could be that a sibling is commandeering the entire process and trying to claim assets for his or herself without working on the estate with his or her siblings. It could be that a sibling refuses to comply with another sibling. Quite frankly, we have seen and heard many things that occur in family drama like this to know how we can handle these.
Just because you may be the oldest, or you may be a biological child of your parents whereas your sibling was adopted, it doesn’t give you or anyone else higher or lower priority in regard to what assets you receive. That is, unless there is a will that exists. however, Michigan statute dictates that without a will, the assets are equally distributed amongst the surviving spouse, as well as the children of the decedent. MCL 700.2102 states:
(1) The intestate share of a decedent’s surviving spouse is 1 of the following:
(a) The entire intestate estate if no descendant or parent of the decedent survives the decedent.
(b) The first $150,000.00, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate, if all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and there is no other descendant of the surviving spouse who survives the decedent.
(c) The first $150,000.00, plus 3/4 of any balance of the intestate estate, if no descendant of the decedent survives the decedent, but a parent of the decedent survives the decedent.
(d) The first $150,000.00, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate, if all of the decedent’s surviving descendants are also descendants of the surviving spouse and the surviving spouse has 1 or more surviving descendants who are not descendants of the decedent.
(e) The first $150,000.00, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate, if 1 or more, but not all, of the decedent’s surviving descendants are not descendants of the surviving spouse.
(f) The first $100,000.00, plus 1/2 of any balance of the intestate estate, if none of the decedent’s surviving descendants are descendants of the surviving spouse.
(2) Each dollar amount listed in subsection (1) shall be adjusted as provided in section 1210.
As you can see, the laws of intestacy first affect the surviving spouse, if there is one. After that, the estate and assets are distributed to the children equally. Take note as well, that this does not state you must be the oldest child or the youngest child or that you must be a biological descendant or an adopted descendant to receive the assets. These laws that you see here must be followed if there is no will that dictates to the probate court how the assets are to be distributed.
We know though that sibling rivalry can always complicate the probate process, we have seen many, many cases that involve siblings who just don’t get along. That’s why if this situation is relevant to your case, you should be reaching out to an experienced, competent probate attorney. The Probate Pro is ready to work with you to make sure the probate process goes smooth, with no bumps in the road with a sibling you don’t get along well with. Call us today at (833) PROBATE and we will be ready to help you.