Dividing Estates Among Blended and Half-Sibling Families

Posted By: David Posted date: October 27, 2017 In: Blog No Comments

Dividing Blended Family EstatesA challenge in so many families today after a parent or parents die, is having a solution for fairness when dividing blended family estates and half-sibling estates or combinations of the two.  For some families, all of the children may feel equally a part of the same core family and are, and have been treated that way for all of their lives they can remember.  In others, there may have always been a clear divide felt and accepted. But upon the death of a parent, considerations never really thought much about come into play for all of the heirs.

Here is a short list of considerations faced when dividing blended family estates:

  • ‣Unless specifically addressed in a will or trust, state laws come into play on large value issues
  • ‣Did things pass to a surviving spouse that heirs thought should have gone to them directly?
  • Has anyone just taken something or things from the estate, having deciding they are entitled to it as a birth right?
  • ‣What about the family art, jewelry, keepsakes? Who is entitled to what?
  • ‣Who gets first pick? How does it feel to get last pick?
  • ‣If half-siblings, do some get more picks than others? Is there another side of the family from the other parent for some of the kids that will also be leaving part or all of an estate to them? So maybe they don’t need as much? Does that matter?
  • ‣Did some of the art, furniture or jewelry in question belong to one parent or the other prior to the blending?
  • ‣Should those items be pulled out separately and awarded to the blood relatives of that parent before other things are divided more equally?

So many questions and no real linear path to fair distribution, but for the executor and kids, being aware of possible areas of upset, can help minimize the chance of that happening.  Blended families set the stage for old fears of favoritism, inadequacy, inferiority, unfair past treatment, current need, lack of need, etc.  The stage becomes set for more emotional conflict and resentment than families not battling the blended dynamic, but a bit of empathy, consideration and open approach can make all the difference.

FairSplit.com can’t solve all of the above issues; it is only software after all.  What it can provide is a platform and processes to execute whatever choices your family decides represents a fair approach. The Emotional Value round is particularly helpful to award items to those children that value them most for emotional reasons.  This can really take down the feeling of unfairness when set up to award those items first, to the winning bidder with their assigned emotional points. Fairsplit can ease emotions when dividing blended family estates.