transfer of assests or debts after death

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transfer of assests or debts after death

How do I eliminate myself for acquiring assets or debts from my mother? If she was to pass how can I avoid being liable for any of her debts?

Asked on December 15, 2016 under Estate Planning, Virginia

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, typically a beneficiary does not inherit the debts of the deceased. Additionally, children aren’t required to pay their parent’s debts simply because they are related to them. The exceptions being: If a parent gave property to a child shortly before the parent’s death, creditors may make a claim against that property if the property transfer left too little money in the estate to pay the parent’s debts (although the child in that situation would not be liable for any amount of debt beyond the value of the property that was transferred; if the child acted as a co-signer for a debt; if under the doctrine of "filial responsibility" (which only some states recognize) an adult child is required to care for their parents financial (however it is typically for reimbursement to Medicaid for nursing home expenses). Absent that, as a beneficiary you will bear no financial responsibility for your mother's bills, etc. Her estate will be responsible for paying them. If you still want to remove yourself as a beneficiary, then you can "renounce" or "disclaim" any interest in her estate. In order to be valid, a disclaimer or renunciation must be in writing, be irrevocable and unqualified in the refusal to accept an interest in the bequest, and must be delivered to the executor within a certain time from the date of death (for example 9 months). There may be other requirements as well, depending on specific state law. At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney.


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