Can my family keep my inheritance from me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my family keep my inheritance from me?

My grandfather recently passed away and left me $50,000 in his Will. My uncle is the executor of the Will and wants me to sign a document stating that I will receive $10,000 and relinquish the remaining $40,000. What happens if I refuse to sign it? Can he contest the Will and try to leave me with nothing? Can I simply refuse and take my full inheritance?

Asked on November 25, 2017 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. The general rule is that the Executor has to follow the wishes of the Decedent in the Will.  You are correct to not sign anything unless and until you have a lawyer read the documentation on your behalf.  The Will needs to be read in order to understand the intricacies of "what happens because of...." or "what happens next."  As for the part of your question that deals with contesting the Will, I think what you mean is a "no contest clause" and that has nothing to do with the Executor per se.  It is aimed at the beneficiaries.  Why is he asking you to take $10K instead of $50K?  That needs to be addressed.  Is there not enough funds for debt?  Is everyone being asked to take less? You need legal help.  Find someone with whom you can consult.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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