What to do if someone wants to renounce an inheritance?

UPDATED: Jan 1, 2012

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What to do if someone wants to renounce an inheritance?

My mother left her home as a life estate to my older brother. Upon his death, the house goes to the 4 remaining siblings. My brother recently passed and 1 sibling doesn’t want his share and wants to gift it to another sibling. Does his share have to go back to the estate to be distributed or can he gift it to one sibling?

Asked on January 1, 2012 under Estate Planning, Virginia


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss. You need to seek help from an attorney in your are in order to confirm and execute what ever documents needed for this matter.  It is my understanding that Virginia does indeed allow a party to refuse to accept their inheritance.  It is called a "disclaimer" of inheritance.  It is my understanding that if the property in disclaimed then the fiduciary looks back to the original Will to see if it addresses the issue and that it is treated as if the refusing party has predeceased the decedent.  But the portion will most likey  be put back in to the pot, so to speak, to be distributed between the remaining siblings.  In order for your one sibling to give his or her  portion to the other sibling they may have to actually accept the inheritance then gift it over.  Good luck.

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