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How can I make an agreement between siblings legally binding regarding distribution of an asset in their father's estate?

Little Rock, AR |

My father-in-law died intestate in Arkansas. He owned property in Wisconsin that all five children have agreed to sell. Because this property was involved in a lawsuit after his death, two of his five children had to put in time and money that everyone agreed would be reimbursed by the estate at the time of the sale. The amount was verbally agreed to by all parties. How can I make this agreement legally binding so that no issues arise at a later date?

Attorney Answers 3


As with most contracts, if you want to make it binding, you should hire an attorney to draft it. You can all hire a single attorney if each of you waives any possible conflict of interest, so the cost should be relatively low for each of the five of you.

Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.

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I would only add to the prior answer, that drawing up your own agreement is a really bad idea. If the agreement is not drawn up correctly and with the clear consent of all the parties, there could be trouble down the line. You can't afford not to use a lawyer- or lawyers if a possible conflict comes up.

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For real estate to be able to be transferred in Arkansas the estate of the owner must be probated in the Probate Court of the county in which he died or a Title Company will not clear title for you to sell the property. You should contact a probate attorney in the county and have the real estate probated then all of the beneficiaries can reach an agreement as to the distribution of the sale proceeds

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