Am I Required To Accept An Inheritance in South Dakota?

Kelley Scrocca
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Business Estate Planning and Probate Attorney

No.

You cannot be forced to accept an inheritance. As strange as that may seem, there are a number of reasons why a person may not want to accept property. This is most often used when all of the inheritance would go straight to creditors or if accepting the inheritance would significantly affect income tax status. A disclaimer can be used to not accept any type of inheritance, whether passing to you by will, state law, through a trust, from life insurance, financial accounts or real estate that pass by how they are titled.

Disclaiming property means that the person using the disclaimer will be treated as though they died before the right to inherit happened. A few rules to follow: there is generally a time limit to disclaim (often 9 months), the disclaimer must be in writing and be done before there is any benefit from the inheritance, the disclaimer must cover the entire inheritance from one place (you can disclaim from the will but take life insurance) and you don’t get to say what happens to it. Be careful though, some jurisdictions do not allow disclaimers if you already have no money or are receiving public benefits based on low income.

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