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How to Split the Pie in Equal Shares? Common Questions from Parents.

As an estate planning and trust administration attorney, I often encounter clients with more than one child or clients with blended families. In those situations, a common discussion we engage in is how to equally distribute the trust assets. In the Bay Area, it is not a surprise that for many of our clients the most valuable asset is the family home or other investment real properties. Parents are faced with the reality of deciding or imagining how their children will equally distribute the assets they inherit. Often at the time of distribution, the stock or liquid assets in the trust do not carry the same market value as the real property in the trust. In these situations, the trustee of the trust, as well as the beneficiaries, are faced with the following options: (1) sell the real property so the trustee can equally distribute the net proceeds, (2) work out a deal where one sibling wishing to own the real property buys the other sibling(s) out of their share in said property, or (3) structure a deal where the siblings amicably agree to co-own the real property together (this option normally relates to an investment property or properties). These options almost always require the beneficiaries to work together in a constructive manner to settle on a plan of trust distribution that satisfies everyone’s interests. There are always income tax and property tax reassessment issues that enter the final resolution.

Here at Chauvel and Glatt, we understand and are sensitive to various family situations and will spend our time to discuss with you your options to set up an estate plan that best suits your family. To learn more, please contact us today.


The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.



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