Connors & Sullivan attorneys at law, pllc
Tell Us About Your Estate Planning Needs:

Take care before saying 'no thanks' to a loved one's bequest

Is it impolite to turn down a gift? Do a search of this question online and you'll find that opinions differ. Some observers say you should always accept with gratitude. Others suggest you factor in the intention behind the gift, or consider what negative implications the gift might hold for the recipient.

That last view is the one that might play the greatest role in comprehensive estate planning. It is something that many might not even consider, but whether you are the giver or the receiver of an inheritance, it makes sense to be clear about consequences if a hand-off occurs. Sometimes it might make sense to just say no thanks by employing the legal tool of a disclaimer.

What's a disclaimer?

When most readers hear this word these days, they probably think about the fine print that appears at the bottom of many ads or a fast-talking announcer. They say things like, "Your results may differ." In estate planning law, disclaimers can provide a certain flexibility over how assets are distributed in the event of your death. It's important to know, though, that the law requires renunciations to be in writing and the renouncer must acknowledge the action by signing off on the document.

If you are the decedent, you might incorporate a disclaimer provision as part of your will. One common application allows married couples to exercise greater control over where some funds go. For example, the couple's plan might specify that if a surviving spouse chooses to disclaim some portion of the estate, that those assets will go to a trust for later use. This could be particularly beneficial as a means to reduce potential estate tax liability.

The tax avoidance benefits might be important for heirs to keep in mind as well. However, renunciation should only follow careful assessment because once the disclaimer is signed, it's irreversible. Also, if the decedent's plan doesn't lay out a plan for the asset in the event it is disclaimed, the determination could be left to the probate process in court.

These examples don't represent all possible disclaimer scenarios – only a few. To be aware of the possible effects declining an inheritance could have, consulting an experienced attorney is always recommended.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Your Trusted Guides For Every Stage Of Life And Every Step
Of The Estate Planning Process

Set Up Your Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Connors & Sullivan attorneys at law, pllc

Visit us at one of our 5 locations.

Brooklyn Office
7408 Fifth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Phone: 718-414-6209
Fax: 718-238-2616
Brooklyn map

Bayside Office
200-20 Northern Boulevard
Bayside, NY 11361

Phone: 718-414-6209
Bayside map

Middle Village Office
79-43 Metropolitan Avenue
Middle Village, NY 11379

Phone: 718-414-6209
middle village map

Staten Island Office
1250 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island, NY 10305

Phone: 718-414-6209
staten island map

Manhattan Office
110 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022

Phone: 718-414-6209
Map & Directions