Parent’s Death Sparks Siblings’ Disputes Over Inheritance

KCL E. Steven Coren, Probate Law

The death of a parent  is an emotional time for any family. When sibling rivalry and infighting over the allocation of the parents’ estates surfaces, it can have devastating long-term affects on all parties. If disputes over inheritance cannot be resolved within the family, it may be necessary for each family member to seek assistance from an attorney specializing in probate law.

Brothers Sue Sister After Parents’ Death

In one such case, a woman who was sued by her two brothers over the distribution of their parents’ estate and called on Attorney Steven Coren to defend her.. The parents had left approximately 1.2 million dollars in a trust to be equally divided between the three children. One of the brothers was the trustee. Also, the two brothers were left the parents’ home and a 20-acre farm.

The parents had owned and operated a neighborhood restaurant, including the land, and the Client worked in the restaurant for many years. The brothers were not involved with the restaurant. Eventually the parents named the Client manager and the Client made payments to the parents out of the restaurant profits as rent. The Client ultimately received the restaurant and the land on which the restaurant was located.

Attorney Coren Favorably Resolves Trust and Estate Disputes

The brothers let the Client know that they felt they had been treated unfairly and deserved to get more from the parents’ estates even though the parents had created detailed wills and trusts directing how their property would be left to the children. The brother who was the Trustee threatened to withhold the Client’s 1/3 share of the trust proceeds and keep it for his brother and himself. Attorney Coren quickly filed for a restraining order in Court and successfully obtained an order that Kerstein, Coren & Lichtenstein hold the Client’s 1/3 share in escrow until the case was resolved.

The brothers then claimed that the Client owed them $600,000 which they claimed the Client failed to pay to the parents as rent for the restaurant and then upon the parents’ deaths, was owed to the brothers. This claim was intensely litigated for 2 ½ years.

Attorney Coren filed a Motion  claiming that the Client was entitled to her 1/3 share of the trust without need of a trial and that the brothers’ claims should not prevent her from taking her 1/3 share. After argument the Court agreed with Attorney Coren and held that the Client deserved her share.

Attorney Coren then filed substantial pleadings arguing that the brothers were owed nothing from their parents’ estate  other than the parents’ home and land and that the brothers had no right to anything the Client may have owed to her parents. The Court found that the Client owed nothing to her parents and that even if she did, the brothers had no entitlement to any of this money.

Finally, the brothers claimed that their parents were not competent to sign certain legal documents in the past. This issue was tried for three days and when it was clear that the brothers could not prove their that parents were incompetent, the case settled with the encouragement of the judge for an amount very favorable to the Client to end further litigation.

The brothers’ dispute over the inheritance has had a devastating impact on the family relationships. In this instance, the Client’s best recourse was to retain counsel to represent her interests and to resolve the matter as quickly as possible so she could move past this emotionally difficult period.

Contact E. Steven Coren

Attorney E. Steven CorenSteve Coren has 40 years of experience representing clients in probate litigationdivorce and family law issues, and personal injury cases. He is an approved mediator for the Middlesex and Norfolk Probate and Family Courts where he is appointed to mediate divorce actions and probate disputes.

Steve can be reached at 781-997-1561 or