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Can rights to an inheritance be relinquished after the fact? (see

Arlington, TX |

Mother died several months ago. Left inheritance to 3 children which has already been distributed. 2 of the children filed a wrongful death lawsuit for "causing" the death of the deceased. 1 of the children (person x), for various reasons, does not wish to participate in the lawsuit. Person X was asked to sign a Waiver and Agreement regarding the lawsuit. Within the Waiver is written "Person X hereby affirmatively and knowingly waives and relinquishes any and all rights that he/she may have in and to any and all proceeds received by the wrongful death beneficiaries of mother, deceased, as well as the Estate of mother, as a result of the State Lawsuit." The terms "as well as" and "Estate" raises a red flag. Is there cause for concern?

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Attorney answers 3


I would guess the intend of the waiver is only as to wrongful death benefits, which can be received by heirs or the estate or both. However, "as well as the Estate" is ambiguous in this context, and you should request a revision, or interlineate a change, before signing. Insert the words "any wrongful death proceeds received by" so that the sentence reads .. . "as well as any wrongful death proceeds received by the Estate of mother . . ." Also, add a sentence: "This release in no manner releases or alters the rights of Person X in any other way to the Estate of mother and any inheritance, bequest, or gift due from such estate, except as to the wrongful death proceeds."

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Are you asking if the child could be giving up the estate distribution (they already have received) by signing a document saying they don't want wrongful death proceeds? I don't read it the same way as you I suppose but I would put the question directly to the attorney handling the PI case or the estate administration.

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You never actually state that the mother's estate was probated. You say she died several months ago and that the "inheritance" has already been distributed. Unless there has been a probate on her estate nothing is binding. If the 3 kids just divided things up, that could all be undone unless they all signed mutual releases.

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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