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Brothers Inherit Family Farm and One Brother Passed Away How Do I Claim His Half?

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Attorney Thomas B. Burton, of Burton Law LLC, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin is joined by Attorney Matthew Underwood, of Underwood Legal, LLC in Madison, Wisconsin and together they answer a reader's question about estate planning and how to transfer a family farm after one brother passed away. Both brothers inherited the family farm, but the farm was never legally split before one of the brothers passed away. Now the surviving brother is seeking answers about how to transfer his deceased brother's half to himself. Attorneys Burton and Underwood discuss this question and present the reader with various options about how to accomplish his goals.

Transcript of Video: Brothers Inherit Family Farm and One Brother Passed Away How Do I Claim His Half?

Okay welcome back today on the program

I am joined again by attorney Matthew

Underwood of Madison Wisconsin and Matt

thanks for coming back on the program

yeah thanks for having me time it's

always great to do these shows

with you and it's lovely today to film

next to the Golden Gate Bridge I always

enjoy my trips here so lovely weather I

hope you're enjoying it Matt oh

absolutely it looks like the sun's going

down or coming up in a bit too and

yeah beautiful sky right before us so

now we never stop working filming these

videos so today's question has to do

with farmland and the writer asked the

following my brothers inherited our

family farm the property was never split

my brother left his half to me how do I

claim it yeah so this is a good question

and it comes up a lot especially being

in Wisconsin and you know some of these

family farms that we deal with they

might have been in the family for

generations some farms can be family

century farms so there's a lot of

history with a lot of these farms and in

you know continuing that legacy is a

goal for a lot of those Wisconsin

farmers so these situations can be a

little bit tricky especially when we're

dealing with multiple beneficiaries and

maybe those beneficiaries have different

wishes may be some beneficiaries one to

stay on the farm others would rather

have that farm sold and then take

proceeds so these can be tricky

situations where it's helpful to have

qualified estate planning attorney to

help out but in this question so we have

a situation where maybe mom and dad

passed away and left that farm to their

children and now one of those siblings

one of the children passed away and then

left that interest in the farm to

another sibling so I'm just for this

example let's say that there were four

and then mom and dad left the farm to

those four kids and one of those kids

passes away and leaves it to one of the

other siblings so what happens is on

that beneficiary will essentially step

into the shoes of that deceased owner so

if that sibling owns 25% now that's it

sibling who's inheriting it can step in

and now they own that 25% so in this

case if there's four kids one passes

away and one of those survivors inherits

that interest we're going to have two

beneficiaries with 25% and one

beneficiary with 50% so you know that's

not the end of the story that's just how

things will work in terms of estate

planning law but we really need to go

through a process to clean up title to

that farm so we can't just leave things

as they are we need to make sure that

that beneficiary's name goes on that

farm title and then whoever passed away

we need to remove their name from that

title so the process that we go through

it really depends on how that estate is

situated if the person who passed away

had a will or maybe they don't have any

sort of estate plan we might have to go

through probate court and during

probate is when we'll clean up title and

make sure that that new owner gets

full credit for their interest and if

there was a trust involved or maybe just

by the way the deed was set up there are

some survivorship rights there might be

different processes that we'd have to go

through depending on that how that

property was structured so without

knowing further it's hard to say what

the best and most efficient route is but

a good estate planning attorney will let

you know what your options are and then

help you find it the best path forward

that's sufficient and that will get

things done so Tom I would turn it

back over to you and just be interested

to hear your thoughts and you know being

in the Eau Claire area you must run into

these issues quite often dealing with

family farm situations yeah I think this

question there's not a lot of details so

you pinpointed exactly my question it'd

be if I could talk to

the client I would ask them how did you

receive this interest in the farm and by

how I mean what type of document so if

it was a deed can you show me a copy of

that deed if it was through a will let's

look at a copy of the will if it was

through a trust let's look at a copy of

the trust and then from there we can take

one of those pathways you mentioned and

find the most efficient way to get the

deceased person off the title and get it

into the hands of it sounds like the

other brother at this point so I think

whether you're working with Matt or with

me or another estate planning attorney if

you can help gather those documents and

bring them to us we can always take a

look and then I like to just lay out your

options and we find the best way to

accomplish your goals

so I guess that's what I would

ask for the same thing as you a little

additional information it's probably in

one of those documents and if you send

it to the office we can take a look and

get started on it with you yeah

absolutely I think when clients are

prepared and in are well organized that

makes our meetings with our clients that

much more efficient so yeah

absolutely gather any information that

you might think is important to this

situation bring it to the attorney's

office and then go through it and then

you'll get your answers absolutely well

thank you to the writer for the question

and thank you Matt for joining us

thank you Tom thank you everyone for

watching and we'll see you next time!

© 2020 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired.

For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.

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