If we decide to settle the claim, how will the beneficiaries divide up the money that is available?
If the beneficiaries are unable to agree, the Court will be forced to decide. (see the discussion above under who gets the damages). As set forth above, minor beneficiaries will almost always be given preferential treatment. It is always better to try to work it out if possible as opposed to letting the Court decide.
Also, for practical reasons, the administrator or the attorney for the estate will need to speak to any ‘fringe’ beneficiaries about either renouncing their share entirely, or accepting a very small share of the money, and signing any proposed distribution Order before sending any such Order to the Court. By “fringe”, we mean, for example, children who had little or no contact with a deceased parent prior to his or her death. Another example would be a father who had visitation with a deceased child, but rarely interacted with the child prior to the death of the child.