Should You Ever Say "No Thanks" To An Inheritance?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2016 | Firm News

It might sound crazy to think anyone would or should ever turn down an inheritance. In some cases, however, there are good reasons to say “no” to a bequest. Here are just a handful of reasons why a beneficiary might choose to decline an inheritance.

The Beneficiary Is in Debt

In most cases, an inherited asset can be claimed by a beneficiary’s creditors. If a beneficiary has significant debts, he or she may choose to disclaim an inheritance in favor of keeping the decedent’s assets in the estate and, therefore, the family.

Tax Consequences

An inheritance can trigger certain tax liabilities. Sometimes, it makes sense for a beneficiary in a high tax bracket to decline an inheritance when the money will then pass to someone with a lower income, resulting in a lower tax obligation.

Putting Things Right

People don’t always update their wills. Other times, they forget what their will says and simply never look at it again, despite changing circumstances in their life. When they pass away, they leave behind an outdated will that does not reflect their final wishes. In cases where a beneficiary knows the decedent would have wanted a different result, he or she can step aside and allow another beneficiary to inherit.

Undesirable Property

A gift might be well-intentioned but ultimately burdensome. For example, an elderly relative may believe he or she is doing the beneficiary a favor by leaving his or her home behind. Problems can arise in cases where the home is in poor condition or encumbered by liens or tax obligations. If the beneficiary can’t afford to rehabilitate the property, it might make sense to disclaim the inheritance.

St. Paul Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers

If you have been named as a beneficiary in a will, you probably have a lot of questions. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced estate planning and probate lawyer. Call the Minnesota probate and estate planning attorneys at Jeffrey P. Scott & Associates, LLC today our office to talk about your estate planning or probate case. Our lawyers are here to help.