How can a beneficiary renounce their inheritance?

My grandmother has passed away leaving 2 properties but no other assets to speak of in her estate. One property owes more than it is worth and the other is free and clear. She has 4 children surviving her but 3 of the children have indicated that they want the fourth to inherit anything remaining in the estate after all the debt has been paid. Is there a form they can sign or should they write a statement asking to be absolved of everything?

Asked on March 27, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Discaliming inheritance in California must be done in writing, signed by the parties disclaiming, identify the creator of the interest (your Grandmother), describe the interest to be disclaimed and state the disclaimer and the extent of the disclaimer. It has to be filed "within a reasonable time" after the interest has become none to the person inheriting (which can be tricky) but if you use the rule of 9 months within the date of death then you will be good. Please, though, go see an attorney to do it correctly.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.