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Old 03-15-2012, 05:57 AM   #1
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Inheritance

There are two brothers. One of them decides to go travel abroad for a few months - Brother B.

After a month of travelling he (Brother B) goes missing. The family cannot contact him, no-one overseas knows where he is. Months go by with searches, police-help, his face posted on the news, but yet nothing turns up.

It is soon assumed that Brother B must be dead and the family begin to mourn and slowly move on with their lives.

A couple months later the brothers' parents both pass away. The brother at home (Brother A) discovers he has been left an inheritance of $2 million. It was actually an inheritance left in the will for both brothers (no other siblings) to share, so $1 million for each brother.

Brother B is home a year later. It was found that he was kidnapped but finally escaped and is now back home alive and safe.

Now the questions:

1. If Brother A has spent all of the inheritance, does he owe Brother B any money?

2. If Brother A has not spent any of the inheritance, and there is $2 million still left in the account, is Bryce B still entitled to it?

3. What if Brother A has spent half of the inheritance, and now has $1 million left that he planned to live the rest of his life on. Is Brother B entitled to it? If so, is he entitled to all of it or just a share?


Brother A - at home
Brother B - was missing
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: Inheritance

1) Spent on what? Does he still have assets of any kind? If not I don't think he owes the brother money, although he should be scorned for poor money management. If he does have assets, anything directly gained from the inheritance should be split.

2) Easy yes.

3) Again if there are assets directly resulting from the inheritance they should be split. If Brother A degened the original million then they split the remaining million. I was originally leaning towards giving it all to Brother B, but hypothetically Brother A could have made risky investments knowing he had a nestegg of a million left over in case it didn't work out not knowing his brother would turn up.

That said unless Brother B is legally declared dead I don't think the inheritance could legally go just to Brother A. Would probably be held in trust for Brother B until a death certificate was issued.
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Old 03-15-2012, 02:58 PM   #3
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Re: Inheritance

brother a seet up kidnapping and murder of parents a few months later fool should of paid more money to kidnappers to hold longer imo cant declare someone dead after only 1 year i reckon... i mean wtf
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Old 03-15-2012, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Inheritance

The logic you use has to be consistent across all scenarios. I do not believe that brother A owes brother B money in any of the cases
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: Inheritance

There is the ethical aspect and the legal aspect. In terms of law it seems that the process is declare someone dead and only then proceed with division of assets (ie capture of all assets and do whatever you like). If one is declared dead and the decision is published i suppose somewhere then after a while of no response its official (death certificate?) he is seen as indeed dead and the inheritance takes place. After that there is no legal responsibility if he turns alive only of course the ethical one.

The best course of action is to assume the brother dead and possibly even proceed to obtain a relevant legal decision on this and then take all the money and create a "brother" trust with 50% in the event he comes back (only his half). Receive your own half and do whatever you want, spend or better invest all wisely and hedged. If brother reappears after say a set period of time maybe 5 years you award him the trust content. If he doesnt the trust has now opened for you to do whatever you want with it so take it and do whatever. Nobody can say anything to you legally or ethically if you acted this way as 5 years is plenty and 1 is still risky in the sense of kidnapping etc.

After that i say the hell with it i mean really 5 years? No contact? You are ok whatever you did. However ethically if the brother indeed was a victim of unreal events i will feel obligated to find a way to give him 1 mil or close to that as possible eventually.

So moral of the story dont treat brother as dead very fast but obtain a decision, wait a few years and invest his part responsibly inside a trust say that is paid to you or him after 5 years. After that you are ok even if he appears regardless what you did but still you need to find a way to give him as close to 1 mil as possible from whatever you have left but only if its doable. If you have nothing left then shame but at least do your best to help him in the future. Nobody (and mostly your own ethical self criticism) can accuse you of anything after 5 years.

In any case whatever you do must be legal and it can be seen as ugly or not but it will be untouchable legally later even if he comes back. It just of course makes you an ahole if he comes back and you refuse to do anything about it if its understood he was unable to escape etc.

Ask a lawyer too. Plus there are tax issues in this situation as since you give someone money (after the money was awarded to you say) the act is not trivial in terms or IRS. So basically whatever you do will be good but the IRS will still screw you then for doing the right thing lol. I suppose then brother takes 1mil minus taxes not the full million.


PS; if he has family of his own award to family his part even if legally you can avoid it because its the decent thing.

Last edited by masque de Z; 03-15-2012 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 03-16-2012, 01:31 AM   #6
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Re: Inheritance

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingOfFelt View Post
That said unless Brother B is legally declared dead I don't think the inheritance could legally go just to Brother A. Would probably be held in trust for Brother B until a death certificate was issued.
Okay, a death certificate was issued. Or, they live in a hypothetical society where if someone goes missing for 1 year+, they are declared dead/inheritances are given to other family members.

And no, Brother B does not have any other family to give the money to.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:07 AM   #7
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Re: Inheritance

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Originally Posted by Polsk23 View Post
The logic you use has to be consistent across all scenarios. I do not believe that brother A owes brother B money in any of the cases
Care to elaborate?

Irreversibly spent -> does not owe
Unspent or recoverable -> owes half that amount

So zero, 1M, 500k, plus half of whatever can be recovered of the spent money. Seems plenty consistent to me?
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Old 03-16-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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Re: Inheritance

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaaa View Post
Okay, a death certificate was issued. Or, they live in a hypothetical society where if someone goes missing for 1 year+, they are declared dead/inheritances are given to other family members.

And no, Brother B does not have any other family to give the money to.
Okay, then I stand by all of my answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polsk23 View Post
The logic you use has to be consistent across all scenarios. I do not believe that brother A owes brother B money in any of the cases
B is clearly a yes ethically. Perhaps legally it might be close, but it would probably be a precedent setting case and I'd imagine a judge would side with the brother getting half if the money has been untouched.
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Old 03-17-2012, 12:16 AM   #9
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Re: Inheritance

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Originally Posted by KingOfFelt View Post
Okay, then I stand by all of my answers.



B is clearly a yes ethically. Perhaps legally it might be close, but it would probably be a precedent setting case and I'd imagine a judge would side with the brother getting half if the money has been untouched.
What if it was known and understood that Brother B would be using his $1 million to be a degen and will spend it on drugs/hookers/etc., but it's known and understood that Brother A (already spent his million) would be using the extra $1 million to complete charitable activities and help people?

Does this out value Brother B's right to money that was left for him?

Does the intended use of the money change your answer to the first few questions?
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:48 AM   #10
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Re: Inheritance

Quote:
What if it was known and understood that Brother B would be using his $1 million to be a degen and will spend it on drugs/hookers/etc., but it's known and understood that Brother A (already spent his million) would be using the extra $1 million to complete charitable activities and help people?

Does this out value Brother B's right to money that was left for him?

Does the intended use of the money change your answer to the first few questions?
Separate issue. Money owed is money owed. Say your employer knows you need half your salary for living expenses on and spend the rest on hookers and blow. Would that make it right for him to withhold that second half and give it to charity instead?
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Old 03-17-2012, 03:51 PM   #11
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Re: Inheritance

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaaa View Post
What if it was known and understood that Brother B would be using his $1 million to be a degen and will spend it on drugs/hookers/etc., but it's known and understood that Brother A (already spent his million) would be using the extra $1 million to complete charitable activities and help people?

Does this out value Brother B's right to money that was left for him?

Does the intended use of the money change your answer to the first few questions?
Not really. Although at this point the hypotheticals are getting a bit out of hand. I'm assuming Brother A is already mega-rich or else why would he spend one million liquid dollars and then donate the next million to charity. I think both legally and ethically Brother B still gets the money or else it would be totally ethical to steal from the rich and give to the poor (which it is not).
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:23 PM   #12
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Re: Inheritance

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Originally Posted by KingOfFelt View Post
Not really. Although at this point the hypotheticals are getting a bit out of hand. I'm assuming Brother A is already mega-rich or else why would he spend one million liquid dollars and then donate the next million to charity. I think both legally and ethically Brother B still gets the money or else it would be totally ethical to steal from the rich and give to the poor (which it is not).
You mean its illegal to steal from the rich to give to the poor not unethical. Because depending on who is the rich or the poor and why/how it can be i can assure you very ethical to do exactly that!

(Returning to the thread now for another long post now, lol)

It is why i said the issue has a legal and an ethical component. The legal is decided properly and often if one is good/noble in ways that are also mostly ethical (i proposed such ways). But the law cannot prevent one from being a sob that will take the money by declaring dead the brother asap and then give him absolutely nothing if the law allows someone to be declared dead when a set of details are satisfied and also doesnt allow to cancel decisions after it has been established he was alive anyway. If the law allows to cancel all decisions that stem from accepting one's death as legal reality then the missing brother can legally challenge the decisions and capture assets of the other brother even. So this is why i said ask a lawyer to know exactly what is done in all outcomes.

In any case legal decisions aside since law is not entirely intelligent to be also very ethical but only approximately and in crude ways often and some rare times even boldly unethical, we can all agree that if the missing brother was entirely unable to communicate under hard conditions of not his choice he is owed 1 mil and the other brother must recognize that and find it. In fact i dont care if A wasted half the money and has only 1m left. He must give it and if he has wasted even more he has to give all the rest and owe what is missing adjusted for taxes too.

Yes there is an argument for A that if i knew B would come i would be more careful but without body and strong evidence he should have known better and did the trust thing. Is then 5 years enough? Yes its arbitrary but it is enough generally. If one is kidnapped it should be known he was within 5 years or he is dead or escapes or the family is contacted. 1 year is still risky especially in some scary countries (eg some Africa, some Latin America some south Asia even parts of China, India, Russia etc why not in fact anywhere with smaller chance). Just look at history and establish what the record is and set a date around there. Then award that money to A. If B appears then with an unreal story that is verifiable so be it. A has to find a way to help the situation and B has to be also understanding that 5 years is a long period.

The ethics of the situations can vary a lot too. I mean B may be completely unethical person then A can say the hell with him i declare dead and do whatever and if he comes i will try to do something but if law protects the prior decision as over he may do only a minimal or nothing and still its an ethical defensible choice. My proposal for trust is to clearly hedge in ethical cases when B is a good, decent, neutral even slightly negative person. I have no problem to let the law be as cruel and bold as possible though if B is a real sob. In that case my primary concern is me not him and i take all legal steps to hedge for all future risk without caring for B until he comes back and proves he is reformed and great and suddenly my view changes and then i have to find ways to help him even if the law is no longer able to do anything for him.

The problem with human law is that it has to decide in binary sense usually and try to be typically ethical too but this is never perfect and so as humanity improves our laws are improved too in order to hopefully approximate even more cases the proper ethical way. This is why laws are changing over time in general in improving directions. That is a historical fact and one way to judge the progress of a society (by the quality , effectiveness and reasoning/structure of its laws and the history of their changes/reforms).

I can even take the position that if B was an exceptional nice person and A is not a sob either then A in order to celebrate the memory of the brother (their potential for future goodness) can create the trust i proposed and after its awarded to him permanently either create a fund that helps causes the brother B liked or generally help charities with the money. Maybe all of it or some fraction of it can be used for that purpose and its a good character choice if so by A that puts further positive structure to his own life as well.
In any case doing something for the memory of brother B even if he wasnt exceptional is a good choice for A to honor both parents and brother's memories and their capacity for humanity.

But again you see when it comes to ethics there is some standard minimum most people agree with but the maximum is unlimited typically. One can do all kinds of things that can be seen as better than other already good choices. The law of course has to draw the line at some point trying to create a minimum ethical balance in human society that is imperfect but already good enough to sustain civilization and allow its own future improvement. The law wont ask you to do something good with the money, it wont enforce outstanding moral code of behavior only a minimum. The law will try to make it hard for you to use the money to do bad things (ie buy the silence or shame of others, or buy drugs, or kill them etc) without demanding to do anything great. In the end you want to celebrate the person that does the proper thing not because they are forced by law or even religious fictional afterlife rewards but even when they are completely free to do anything they like. I mean what mostly stops you from creating a major accident pile up in the freeway, is it the risk of life, personal injury and costs, the legal ramifications of prison etc or the respect and love for the lives of the unknown people driving around you and the safety a common decision by all to do the same provides for the world you live in?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:54 AM   #13
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Re: Inheritance

Allowing Brother B's share of the money to go to Brother A creates moral hazard. Therefore, it is bad policy to give B's share to A in a lump sum.

1. On strictly ethical grounds, he owes. Laws are different in different parts of the world and if the law says he doesn't owe then he doesn't owe, but imo that would be a situation where the law and what is ethical have diverged.

2. Yes. Again, the law should always try to follow what is ethical but in many instances it does not. Ethically this is a no-brainer. Brother A's claim to both shares of the money is based on the false assumption that Brother B died.

3. I'd probably arbitrate an amount of like 50,000 to Brother A so that he can re-evaluate the way he was going to live his life without having to immediately liquidate everything... but basically A still owes B as much of the share as possible. Again, the false assumption of death means that B is still entitled to as much of his share as can be returned to him.

Last edited by Kyle Mulhesta; 03-21-2012 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:11 AM   #14
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Re: Inheritance

Quote:
1. If Brother A has spent all of the inheritance, does he owe Brother B any money?

2. If Brother A has not spent any of the inheritance, and there is $2 million still left in the account, is Bryce B still entitled to it?

3. What if Brother A has spent half of the inheritance, and now has $1 million left that he planned to live the rest of his life on. Is Brother B entitled to it? If so, is he entitled to all of it or just a share?


Brother A - at home
Brother B - was missing
Nice thread... I'll assume death a certificate and that the inheritance was carried out in accordance with the law.

Civil law:
1. No
2. No
3. No

Common law:
1. Likely no
2. Likely yes
3. Likely a share

Ethics:
1. I would say you are in debt, though not necessarily for money
2. I would say yes
3. I would say a share
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:51 AM   #15
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Re: Inheritance

Thread is ridiculous, OP didn't state whether this is from a legal or moral perspective, and if it's the former didn't state what model of law is being used
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