The Mutual Distribution Agreement
By: Carl A. Glad, Esq, Partner Law Offices of Kurt M. Ahlberg LLC
Everyone has heard the stories of families that tear each other apart during the Probate process. Sometimes the heirs or beneficiaries of a Will wish their deceased loved-one had made a different disposition of assets through the Will. If this is a concern, there is a way to “change” a Will…that is if all of the parties to the Will agree.
Connecticut Law authorizes the devisees, legatees and heirs of a testate estate (an estate where there is a Will) to make and file a Mutual Distribution Agreement. Our Courts have broken down the complex Mutual Distribution Agreement to define it as a “settlement of a dispute over the distribution of a family member's estate.” Banziruk v. Banziruk, Superior Court of Connecticut at Litchfield, Docket No. CV-10 6002504-S (June, 25, 2013, Danaher, J.). In essence, if ALL of the parties can agree to the division of ALL of the estate assets, the Court will accept that division. The parties make a written a contract with each other defining that division. Once that contract (the Mutual Distribution Agreement) is signed it is valid and enforceable. Additionally, Courts look favorably upon these agreements because it provides an equitable remedy to what could otherwise be a long and expensive fight over the decedent’s assets.
If you and your family are concerned about the terms of a Will you should consider a Mutual Distribution Agreement. Because the Agreement is a binding contract should also ensure an attorney prepares the Agreement.
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