Can I reject or prevent someone putting me in their Will?

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Can I reject or prevent someone putting me in their Will?

Essentially, I don’t want to inherit a house that will bankrupt me. Is there anyway I can prevent the house being left to me or reject it if it is?

Asked on June 19, 2012 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

Jignesh Shah / Law Office of Jignesh J. Shah, LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This is bit more complex but here's a brief summary.  What you should do is file a "disclaimer" after the person's death, which allows you to refuse the inheritance of a particular property.  In order for the disclaimer to be valid in New Jersey, it should describe the property disclaimed, declare that the property is disclaimed and must be signed and acknowledged by you.  Also, if under the will, if you get the house right away (and not at some time in the future), then you have to file the disclaimer within 9 months of the person's death.  You need to file the disclaimer with the court where the will is probated and send a copy to the executor of the estate by certified mail, return receipt requested.  Make sure you do not exercise any control over any part of the property.  Also, keep in mind that the disclaimer may not be valid if you are disclaiming to try and avoid your creditors.

If someone wants to include you in their will even after you have told them that you do not want to be included, then I am not aware of any way to prevent them from doing so.  It's their will and they can do what they want to do.  The only option is to wait until after their death and do what I said above.


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