If someone leaves you their property in their Will, do you have to take it?

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2014

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If someone leaves you their property in their Will, do you have to take it?

Asked on July 16, 2014 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not. In a situation such as this, a beneficiary can "renounce" their inheritance. However, to do so, typically the following needs to be done: The disclaimant (i.e. the benenficiary who is renouncing the gift) must put their disclaimer in writing; the disclaimer must be received by the executor of the estate; and, in the interim, the disclaimant does not accept any interest or any benefits of the gift. The result of the refusal will be that the disclaimant's interest will pass to the contingent beneficiary as listed in the Will.

The fact is that each states requirements for renouncing an inheritance differ, so you should contact the applicable probate court or consult with a local attorney for more specific information.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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