Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts

Splitting inheritance equally

My mom passed away last christmas..She had already given away her valuables to her children/grandchildren etc..the only thing there is left to split is her bank accounts..One of the six children didn't care for my mother much and doesnt need the money...As the Administratrix do I have to give her an equal share or can I give her less than others who do need and deserve it?

Asked on 12/02/07, 8:18 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Franklin Michael M. Franklin, Esq.
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Re: Splitting inheritance equally

You must divide the estate including bank accounts equally. If I can be of further assistance, please call me.

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Answered on 12/03/07, 1:22 pm
Raymond Weicker Qua, Hall, Harvey & Walsh
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Re: Splitting inheritance equally

As the administratrix, you do not have discretion to make distributions based on "need" or who is more "deserving," and must follow the will, or in the absence of a will, split everything according to the law (which would be equally when it comes to siblings). The administratrix does not have the authority to change the way monies are to be divided, and moreover, the final acocunting has to be approved by the court. Deliberate failure to make the distribution can subject a party to criminal (felony) charges for larceny.

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Answered on 12/02/07, 8:32 pm
Alexandra Golden Golden Law Center
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Re: Splitting inheritance equally

Unfortunately, when there is no will directing how to divide up an estate, the law of unintended consequences applies. You don't get to decide the division of the estate. Failure to do so is an invitation to a lawsuit.

If your mother died without a will, you must divide the accounts according to the law of intestacy. Assuming that your mother was not married at the time of her death, that means you need to divide the estate among the children in equal shares. If any children died before your mother and left children of their own, those children get equal shares of the share their parent would have received if s/he had survived.

Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance in helping you properly administer your mother's estate.

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Answered on 12/02/07, 8:45 pm
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Re: Splitting inheritance equally

You have to follow her Will or the statute, which would mean all of the children are treated equally. If the one child does not want her money, she can refuse the inheritance and her portion would be split equally between the others.

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Answered on 12/02/07, 8:47 pm
Denise Leydon Harvey Harvey Law Offices
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Re: Splitting inheritance equally

I'm sorry for your loss. This season must be very difficult for you.

As administratrix you must follow the statute for distribution of your mom's assets. In this case, this means that all children are to be treated equally and share equally in any assets.

This situation brings home the importance of planning for your future and the future of those you leave behind. A will would have outlined your mother's wishes and made your job easier.

Please let me know if I can assist you in any way with this. Best wishes -

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Answered on 12/03/07, 9:16 am

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