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Can a beneficiary sign off of their inheritance prior to the estate closing?

Fort Pierce, FL |

My Dad, Uncle and Aunt are named beneficiaries in my Grandmothers will being probated in PA. Everything was to be divided equally among the three of them. My Aunt says that my Uncle is planning on signing over his share of the estate to her. How would he legally do this and is he able to do it at anytime, or does he have to wait until the estate is about to close (and see what he is actually giving up) before signing over his portion? Thanks

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

Your uncle should retain an experienced Pennsylvania estate lawyer to:
a) consult with him on whether this action makes sense given his circumstances;
(b), if so, the proper procedure for accomplishing such a transfer in that state; and
(c) have the necessary document properly prepared and executed.

Here in Connecticut, a beneficiary may do this through an "Assignment" and the Assignment may be executed prior to the estate's closing. Good luck to you and your uncle.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


I agree with Mr. Pankowski's answer and analysis. You could not use a disclaimer in this case, because then the uncle's share would pass not only to your aunt, but to other beneficiaries, as well. This would seem to defeat the intended purpose.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick


I forgot to add that your uncle could also receive the assets from the estate and then gift them to his sister. He would need to file a gift tax return if he does this, and it could also result in potential Medicaid planning issues. So using an attorney to prepare the documents and review the situation is very important.

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