If a beneficiary is 96 yrs old, can they decline an inheritance

If my mom is on medicaid and has dementia and is left an inheritance, can she
refuse it. And how would she do it if she can not sign her name on a form. Can
a person with her power of attorney do it for her?

Asked on September 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Hawaii


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A beneficiary of any age can decine an inheritance. If she is not competent to do so directly herself, if she gave someone a broad POA conferring on that person the authority to do anything she herself could, that person could decline it for her. Or if the POA is more limited than that (it only gives certain powers, not including this) but your mother is no longer mentally competent, you could petition the court (ask an elder law attorney to help you) to have her declared incompetent to manage her own affairs and have you declared her legal guardian; you would then have the authority to do this.

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