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How Can Heir Disclaim Their Interest in an Estate?

Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question in his latest Real Estate Q&A Series Video: "How Can Heir Disclaim Their Interest in an Estate?"

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Hello, I'm Attorney Thomas Burton and welcome back to our popular Question and Answer Series here on our channel.

Today's question is the following: "How can an heir disclaim their interest in an estate? I am the personal representative of my father's estate. My older sister, who never had much of a relationship with my father, wants nothing to do with the probate process and doesn't want anything to do with his house. How can she properly disclaim her interest in the estate, in a way that if she disclaims her interests, it won't be passed on to her next of kin. My father's estate is located in Wisconsin."

So this is a question about probate. For the viewers watching, probate is the court administered process to distribute someone's assets after they die and it goes into effect if you use a will plan for your estate, it will go through probate or if you die with no will at all, it's going to go through probate court.

So the answer, you're on the right track, your older sister can execute a disclaimer of interest, it's called and you can find the requirements for a proper disclaimer in Wisconsin statute 864.13. So I would look at the exact statute because the disclaimer must be in writing and signed by the heir within nine months of the date of death of the deceased and this is required by statute and also in conjunction with federal tax law.

I would suggest to do this properly, you should work with a qualified probate attorney to get that disclaimer in writing and to accomplish exactly what you set out that the older sister wants to do, disclaim it, so that it won't go, you said she's disinterested, she doesn't want it to go to her next of kin, so of course that will be up to her in the discussion with the attorney and then depending on the type of asset disclaim, there may be additional steps that need to be taken such as recording that disclaimer with the register of deeds, for the house or if it's passing through probate court with the probate court.

If an heir disclaims an interest, then it passes to the next person named in the will as if the heir had predeceased the testator. So it does if your sister had died before your father. So I would examine the will in detail to determine what happens if sister says I don't want my interest, basically, I don't want the bequest then what does the will say happens to the bequest because that's going to govern what happens if she disclaims her interest and in determine who would take it in the event of that disclaimer and then if that intended, if the next person is not who your older sister wants, then perhaps there is another way for the older sister to get that interest to someone else. From your question it sounds like she doesn't want anything to do with, it just wants to disclaim and walk away but if she wanted to have some control over who would receive it, then she should meet with their own attorney and examiner options but a disclaimer is likely your answer here and again, you must do it within nine months of the date of the death of the deceased and it must be signed and in writing, signed and in writing by the heir within those nine months.

So excellent question. Thank you. I know you're doing a great service to your father by taking care of his estate.

Thank you for asking this question and to the viewers thank you for turning in and I answer real questions like this every month on the channel as a service to the public. So if this video has been helpful to you please consider giving it a LIKE, so that others can see and benefit from this information as well.

Thanks for watching and we'll see you next time.

© 2022 Burton Law LLC. All Rights Reserved. Transcript and captions provided for ease of access for the hearing impaired. For questions about this topic, or to suggest a topic for a future blog post, please contact the office.


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