How do I renounce a bequest?

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How do I renounce a bequest?

I am heir to 1/3 of my deceased mother’s estate in accordance with her Will which has been filed. I wish to legally surrender, forfeit, or otherwise voluntarily give my 1/3 to a surviving sibling when the Will is probated. It is my intent to put this in writing to my sibling and/or her attorney. I am unable to locate a document on your site with a sample format of such a written document. Do you have one and where can I find it?

Asked on September 10, 2012 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is called either Renouncing a bequest or to Disclaim an inheritance.  New Jersey law was amended in 2005.  The disclaimer must be "delivered and filed" under the law to be held valid.  Now, the stateute does not indicate that any particular form is needed only the following: 

3B:9-3. a. A disclaimer shall be in writing, signed and acknowledged by the person disclaiming, and shall:

(1)Describe the property, interest, power or discretion disclaimed;

(2)If the property interest disclaimed is real property, identify the municipality and county in which the real property is situated; and

(3) Declare the disclaimer and the extent thereof.

b. The disclaimer shall be made within the time prescribed by section 68 of P.L. 2004, c.132 (C. 3B:9-4.2).


If it is not filed with in the time prescribed by law it is barred.  It needs to be filed in the office of the surrogate or clerk of the Superior Court in which proceedings have been commenced or will be commenced. Good luck.

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