What Does It Mean to Disclaim an Inheritance?

Leaving behind an inheritance for a loved one might have good intentions, but it may not always be the case that the recipient wants those assets.

There are many reasons why someone may not want to accept an inheritance given to them. Whether through intestate succession, through the terms of a will or through the creation of a trust, a person who would otherwise inherit may wish to avoid receiving this property.

This could be based on their own estate plans, their tax situation or simply because they don’t want certain property to be treated in a specific way, such as community or separate property. Disclaiming can be used in a handful of different situations, including:

  • A person who already has an estate that is likely to be heavily taxed and that person is also in poor health.
  • A person who wants to claim community property interest is given a portion of it in the will and will instead want to take a greater percentage of it due to the community property nature.
  • A person who is likely to lose the inheritance due to something, such as a pending bankruptcy, and wishes the money to pass to the next in line of trust of his or her children.

A disclaimer must be in writing and has to be signed by a disclaimant. In this written document, it must identify the creator of the interest, describe the interest to be disclaimed and state the extent of the disclaimer and the disclaimer itself. Consult with a knowledgeable Pasadena area estate planning attorney to learn more.

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