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What are the implications of being named the sole heir on a will and asked to distribute the estate equally among my siblings?

My sister recently informed me she has written a will listing me as the executor and sole heir on her estate. She has verbally instructed me that when she passes I am to distribute the proceeds from her estate equally among me and my other two siblings. I'm willing to do this, but this seems like a bad idea. How would this effect my taxes? What happens if I should pass before my sister and she should die before changing her will again?

Estate Planning, Taxes, End of Life
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A reasonable first step may be to recommend to your sister that she visit with an estate planning attorney and have a proper set of documents drawn up.  The language in your question is confusing -- if you are to be the "sole heir", then it would seem that all of your sister's property and assets covered by the will would simply become yours at her death (subject to probating the will in your state).  Any further action, such as distributing some of those assets along to your siblings, would depend on your choices.

But it also sounds like your sister's actual intention is for her assets to be split among her three siblings, in which case all three of you would be "heirs", inheriting a share of those assets at her passing.  In this case, it may be appropriate that you serve as "executor", which typically means that you would be resonsible for some of the practical aspects of seeing your sister's will carried out.  The distinction between "heir" and "executor" is crucial here.

Depending on what type of assets your sister owns (like bank accounts, retirement investment accounts, real estate, etc), she may be served by proactively assigning beneficiary designations to those where she may, and using a trust to clearly describe her wishes for the distribution of the rest.

A qualified financial planner can help organize your sister's assets into categories and offer some guidance on how to accomplish her wishes; an estate planning attorney or service can assist in writing the appropriate legal documents to support those intentions.

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