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Inheritance Questions, Process, and Disputes

2006 Views 21 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Confederate Tyrant
My wife's remaining parent passed away recently and I'm looking for advice so I can help my wife and, potentially, brother-in-law handle the process of inheritance as well as paying off any debts of the deceased. They have a family lawyer that is involved, but I'd like to get some information from others who have gone through this before, as well as other lawyers that may view this from a more neutral position. I may not have everything as accurate as possible because I have not seen the Will and Testament, but I understand it to be as follows:

Executor - Brother-in-law
Beneficiaries - my wife and brother-in-law
Inheritance Stipulations - my wife and brother-in-law are to split all estate assets 50/50 with the exception of the home, that is solely willed to my brother-in-law for him to sell for the purpose of paying for graduate school.

We have only handled the life insurance and funeral/cremation part, so that should all be settled quickly. My understanding is life insurance proceeds are not part of the estate, is that correct?

Would the handling of any debts of the deceased and how these come out of the estate. What is the overall process of handling this with the estate?

Would a fully paid home be protected from liquidation to pay off estate debts if it's willed (not sold) to a beneficiary?

From what I can find, if liquidation of all assets only pays off a certain amount (let's say $150,000 is the max value of the estate's assets but there's $200,000 in total debt) then the credit/medical companies are SOL for the other $50,000. Is that correct?

They're both beneficiaries to the retirement account but are non-spouse retirement benefits considered part of the estate? I'm not sure if it's 401K, IRA, etc. just that it's a "retirement account."

There are a couple of disputes right now, one which is the substantially uneven split of assets, and the brother-in-law's verbal attacks at my wife which he used to justify why he should get more than her. Another is more of a potential dispute should the executor choose to liquidate the 50/50 assets first to pay off debt so that way he'd lose less when the home is sold.

Any of y'all ever had disputes of similar natures? If so, did y'all ever work it out?

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These things go smoothly if no beneficiary or creditor has a complaint. Otherwise a lawyer (practicing in the state of the deceased) is easily worth his fee.
Meant to update this. We've received a copy of the Will and they've had to fill out some forms for Probate, but so far seems like things are getting worked out. The family-friend lawyer knew enough about the process to answer a few of the questions I posted here.

Thanks for all the input/suggestions.
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