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Can you disclaim an inheritance? - Part I

When an individual receives notice that a loved one has died, the news may come as a shock or as a relief, depending on the circumstances surrounding the loved one’s death and the nature of the relationship between the individual and his or her loved one. When a loved one’s death occurs, many practical matters must be addressed. It can be difficult to arrange burial or cremation of a loved one, regardless of how an individual feels about that loved one’s death. Because whether or not that death has inspired shock or relief, the passing of someone who has affected one’s life in any significant way can be difficult to grapple with.

It can also be difficult to know how to respond to any gifts that a loved one has left behind. Oftentimes, gifts of money, personal property, real estate or other assets are welcome. However, these gifts can also inspire headaches, depending on the nature of the gift. For any number of reasons, beneficiaries may wish to disclaim a gift from a loved one’s estate. And under certain circumstances, one may do so successfully.

Every gift or bequest is unique. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to consult the guidance of an attorney experienced in matters of estate planning if you wish to disclaim a gift or bequest. Not only may you be dazed in the wake of your loved one’s death and in need of guidance generally, an attorney with experience in this particular area of law should be able to parse the particulars of your situation and advise you appropriately.

Please check back next week, as we will be continuing our discussion on disclaiming inheritance in our next post.

Source: Findlaw Law & Daily Life, “Legal How-To: Disclaiming an Inheritance,” Daniel Taylor, Jan. 30, 2015

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