Quarrelsome estate

An estate of deceased is an economic entity consisting of the deceased person’s assets and debts. The parties to this economic entity are the lawful heirs of the deceased, as well as potential legatees. The surviving spouse is a party until the partition if he has marital right to the possessions of the deceased spouse.

Understanding the issues of the estate in consensus does not always go smoothly. In addition to a variety of procedures and valuations, disagreement can also be caused by lifetime events of the deceased which do not have a real attachment to the settlement itself or the division of property. In such cases, the parties to the estate may experience co-operation impossible and the estate must resort to clearing and distribution by an outside objective party. Administering an estate can be challenging even without quarreling. For example, cases involving minors, the share of a party has been distrained, the estate is excessively in debt, or one or several of the parties have a trustee.

On the basis of my experience, the most difficult things among the parties seem to be the movables and personal property in the estate, which have more emotional value than monetary value. In the most serious cases, such personal objects must also be given a monetary value in distribution of the inheritance, which might aggravate the problems further.

If the management of the estate with joint management of the parties proves impossible, each party to the estate has an individual right to apply for a liquidator or an executor from the district court. After the assignment of the liquidator or distributor, the parties shall transfer the estate to the management of the liquidator. The estate administrator has the right and the duty to handle the affairs of the estate and to take legal action on its behalf. The administrator and the distributor must arrange for the necessary number of distribution meetings where parties have the opportunity to present their claims for estate concerning inheritance and to negotiate any disputes. The administrator has an obligation to tell about the rights and obligations of the parties equally and to strive for a satisfactory settlement of all parties. If agreement cannot be found despite attempts, the distributor must carry out the division in accordance with the provisions of the law. Each party has the right to contest the distribution made by the liquidator by raising a lawsuit in the district court against other parties within six months of the inheritance distribution.

The administrator / liquidator is entitled to receive a reasonable remuneration for his work and compensation for the costs incurred. The remuneration and costs will be paid from the assets of the estate. The price of the services of the administrator is usually determined by the time spent on the assignment. The more disagreement issues the estate parties transfer to the liquidator, the higher the remuneration will be. It is therefore desirable for the parties to strive to agree with at least the economically least significant issues among themselves.

Insofar as the parties can agree about the distribution of inheritance, the liquidator verifies the agreement and encloses it to the inheritance distribution deed. Insofar as the agreement cannot be reached, the liquidator will make the distribution solely and signs the distribution document alone. The parties may, if they so wish, with their own signatures declare that they agree to the distribution and commit themselves not to contest it which makes the distribution of inheritance immediately valid. If this is not the case, the distribution will become legally effective after a period of 6 months if none of the parties has filed a lawsuit in the district court against all other parties until the end of the deadline.

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