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How to decline an inheritance in California gracefully

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2022 | Estate And Probate Administration |

When you receive an inheritance from someone’s estate in California, you can refuse to accept it for whatever reason you see fit. This is known as “disclaiming” the inheritance, and it’s a perfectly legal way to handle receiving a property you don’t want.

Reasons to disclaim an inheritance

It may seem odd or ungrateful to disclaim an inheritance, but there are actually a few good reasons why you might want to do so. For example, let’s say that you stand to inherit a house from a relative. However, the house is in poor condition and would require a significant amount of money to repair. You may not have the financial resources to make the necessary repairs, or you may simply not want the responsibility of owning and maintaining a property. In this case, it makes sense to disclaim the inheritance.

Another reason you might want to disclaim an inheritance is if the estate is heavily indebted. This can happen when someone has accumulated a lot of debt over their lifetime or has passed away without having enough money to cover their final expenses. If you accept the inheritance, you may be responsible for paying off the debts, which can put a significant financial burden on you.

How to disclaim an inheritance in California

To decline an inheritance in California, you’ll need to prepare and file a document called a “disclaimer” with the estate & probate administration handling the decedent’s estate. The disclaimer must state that you’re declining the inheritance and specify why you’re doing so. If it goes through, you will no longer have any claim to the property or assets that were bequeathed to you.

It’s important to note that you can only disclaim an inheritance within a certain period of time after receiving notice of the estate. In California, this period is generally nine months from the date of death. If you wait too long to file the disclaimer, you may lose your opportunity to do so.