I am not licensed in PA, but as a general principle there is only one way someone can "sign off" on a will to leave an estate to someone else. The first is to "disclaim" the right to receive the property in writing. If I disclaim my right to the property, then the next person named in the will inherits it in my place (so, for example, if the will says "I leave all of my property to Child A, but if Child A predeceases me, I leave my property to Child A's issue", then the property would be distributed to Child A's "issue" (children and children of deceased children).
If the will says that the property goes to Mom if all of the children predecease Dad, then a disclaimer would work. But in many states, the property automatically goes to the deceased child's children if the child predeceases. So if any of the 4 children have kids, those kids would probably get the property, not Mom.
If the children all sign a document that says "give the property to Mom instead of to me", that's not a disclaimer - that's a gift from the kids to their mother.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
The prior attorney offers good advice. Under your facts, you need to look at the trust instrument to see who gets you and your siblings inheritances if you disclaim. Usually, your children would take you bequest; so a disclaimer may not help. But you need to look at the document closely, there may be a way with a series of disclaimers to make it work.
Failing that, the children could make gifts to the parent but if they make gifts of more than $13,000 per year, then they must use up part of their lifetime exemption.
You need to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney to set up the best strategy here.
Hope this helps.
Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law in PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery County. He can be reached at 215-735-2336. He was recently featured as a 5Star Wealth Manager in the Philadelphia Magazine, November 2009 issue on page 123.
The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. The response is only in the form of legal education and is intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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.
Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.