Sibling stealing from estate what to do - RMO Lawyers and Trust Attorneys

Sibling Stealing from Estate: What to Do

If you suspect a sibling is stealing from an estate or trust in which you are a beneficiary, you very likely need the protection of a trust litigation attorney. Unfortunately, sibling theft is an all-too-common occurrence. Fortunately, an experienced trust litigation attorney can usually help recover stolen assets, and quite possibly have your sibling disinherited and recover attorney’s fees and costs.


My sibling is stealing from the estate or family trust, can I get my share of the assets back?

The short answer is “yes, you can expect to get your assets back.” At RMO, we have typically been able to recover stolen assets in six to twelve months, but sometimes sooner, in as little as 30 days. In many cases, the sibling who stole the assets will return them voluntarily after receiving a demand letter from an attorney outlining the stiff penalties if they fail to comply. In those instances where they still refuse, we generally see the assets returned shortly after court proceedings are initiated. In situations where these strategies fail, then those court processes can serve to obtain court orders requiring the return of the stolen assets, and sometimes the payment of attorney’s fees, costs and other damages.

Do I need proof they’re stealing assets from the estate?

No. Getting proof that a brother or sister is stealing is not your job. A trust litigation attorney will quarterback the investigation, due diligence and detective work required. Evidence disappears and memories fade, however, so the sooner you contact an experienced trust litigation attorney near you, the better. It’s much easier for the attorney and their investigation staff to follow a fresh trail of information and documents.

What do I do when my sibling steals my inheritance?

It’s natural to get angry, frustrated, and sad when a brother or sister breaches your trust. We see this situation every day, and suggest the following: 1) Contact a trust attorney as soon as you suspect a sibling has stolen your inheritance, 2) Allow the trust attorney to protect you and handle the situation, 3) Know that we’ve seen many families go through this experience and go on to have healthy, productive, fruitful lives.

What is the penalty for my sibling stealing from the estate? Will they go to jail?

Generally, the theft of estate assets by a sibling is treated as a civil matter. That means: No jail time is involved. As a victim, you do have the option to make a criminal complaint and ask the district attorney to prosecute your sibling, either when you suspect theft, or have proven they stole your assets or inheritance from the estate. While we don’t typically see clients who want to send their sibling to jail, it is a legal option. That said, the threat of criminal charges CANNOT be used as leverage to motivate a sibling who has stolen assets, to return those assets quickly, in your civil probate litigation matter.

How should you feel when a sibling steals your inheritance?

It’s natural to feel angry, disappointed, scared, and hurt. Any number of feelings. Just remember, regardless of what your brother or sister did, you have the ability to control the response. In our experience a calm, measured approach almost always is the best course, and that can be difficult when you are “in it” after discovering your sibling stole your inheritance. Hiring an experienced trust litigation attorney allows you to protect your rights while layering in an objective party to help guide the process and help you make well-informed decisions. Many clients experience a sense of relief even after just beginning the process with a trust litigation attorney. Your probate attorney and their firm become a team you can rely on to protect you, your family, and your rightful inheritance.

How can I get over my sibling stealing my inheritance?

It takes time to get past the emotions of a sibling stealing your inheritance. At RMO, we often counsel clients on more than just the facts of their case. We understand that these cases take an emotional toll on our clients, and we take pride in helping you not only understand the legal ramifications of your case, but holding your hand through what likely is the only litigation, and perhaps the only family litigation, you likely will ever be involved in. Our goal always is to leave our clients in a better place than we found them, both financially and emotionally.

When do I need a trust litigation attorney?

You should consider a trust litigation attorney the moment you suspect a brother or sister is stealing your inheritance or assets from the estate. Often a trust attorney can quickly begin communications with the suspected sibling and/or their attorney, and resolve the theft quickly. The odds of recovering your assets are much higher the sooner you act, before your sibling has a chance to “spend” the assets.

Do I need a trust litigation attorney near me?

We recommend finding an experienced trust litigation attorney familiar with the county probate court in the county where the decedent lived. For example, if the decedent lived in Los Angeles, we recommend working with a trust litigation attorney in Los Angeles. A Los Angeles probate lawyer will generally be more familiar with the Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Division, versus an out of state attorney.

Have questions? Contact us right now. It’s totally free.
[email protected] or call (424) 320-9444

Read More

The Guide to Family Trust Embezzlement and Stealing
Can I Contest My Parents’ Will in California?
How to Contest a Trust From Home
The Trustee’s Guide to Breach of Trust Claims
The Guide to Sibling Inheritance Laws and Rights

About RMO Lawyers, LLP

RMO LLP provides personal and efficient inheritance dispute services to individual and institutional clients. The firm’s attorneys focus on probate litigation involving contested trust, estate, probate, and conservatorship matters. Serving California and Texas, with offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Orange County, San Diego, Fresno, the Bay Area, Dallas, and Houston. For more information, please visit

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About the Author

Scott Rahn, Founding Partner

Scott Rahn resolves contests, disputes and litigation related to trusts, estates and conservatorships, creating a welcome peace of mind for clients. He represents heirs, beneficiaries, trustees and executors. He utilizes his experience to develop and implement strategies that swiftly and efficiently address the financial issues, fiduciary duties and emotional complexities underlying trust contests, estates conflicts and probate litigation.

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