Can I refuse my inheritance?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2023 | Estate Planning

Many beneficiaries are eager to claim the funds or property they’re entitled to. However, you don’t feel the same way and wonder if you can refuse your inheritance. 

Possible reasons why you want to disclaim your inheritance include things like:

  • You want to avoid taxes: California doesn’t have an estate or an inheritance tax. That being said, an estate you inherited is located in a state that does impose a state tax, and you don’t want to deal with that (or the hassles of moving, for that matter).
  • You’re already in a comfortable financial position: You make enough money at your job or business to retire in the future and feel that a large sum is unnecessary. You may want to leave the inheritance for someone else.

You feel odd accepting an inheritance from a deceased relative you don’t know very well: The decedent is someone you haven’t seen since you were a kid, and you two were never very close. It may feel weird to inherit assets from an individual who’s more like a stranger than a family member.

How can you refuse the inheritance?

You don’t have to take an inheritance you don’t want, but you will need to create a qualified disclaimer. A qualified disclaimer has to follow these rules:

  • It has to be in written form.
  • It has to be unqualified and irrevocable.
  • The beneficiary should not expect benefits from the disclaimed assets.
  • Assets must go to the decedent’s spouse or another close loved one without any direction on the beneficiary’s part.
  • The beneficiary has to complete it within nine months of the testator’s death.

Even though many beneficiaries enjoy inheriting property or money, others don’t, and that’s perfectly fine. If you’re a beneficiary needing help deciding what to do with assets you would rather not keep, experienced legal guidance can help.



Super Lawyers
Lead Counsel LC Verified
Kimberly D. Neilson
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ... | Best Probate Lawyers in San Marcos 2022