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Can I decline an inheritance but at the same time direct it to someone else in my family?

Mahwah, NJ |
Filed under: Intestacy and probate

I would prefer that my children receive it.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. In most states, the process of disclaiming an inheritance allows you to avoid receiving it, but does not allow you to direct it. You should check with local counsel for the implications of disclaiming the bequest. It may end up with your descendants, anyway.

    Best regards,

    Randy Fisher


  2. If you direct it to someone else in your family you will be making a gift; however, if you simply refuse the gift and the controlling Will or the rules of intestacy (whichever apply) cause the amount disclaimed to pass to such individuals then no gift is implied although you may have issues with certain creditors. You'd be best served by consulting a local attorney who can review your precise facts and give you complete advice.

    Very truly yours,

    Ed Smeltzer

    NOTE: This answer was prepared for educational purposes only. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question.

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