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“I am one of the beneficiaries in my Father’s Will, but I don’t want to inherit. What happens?”

April 21, 2023

Although most of us would be grateful to be left a gift in our Father’s Will, there may be challenges surrounding the relationship, or it could be a case of the gift being of more use given elsewhere.

As a beneficiary you are not obligated to accept their inheritance. You are free to refuse a testamentary gift if you wish to do so.

As a general rule, if a specific gift or legacy in a Will is disclaimed, it will fall into residue and the other beneficiaries of the residuary estate will take the disclaimed gift in the appropriate shares.

You do however have two options when deciding how to refuse…

In writing:

The first and more straightforward of the two is to confirm you do not want to claim the gift by formally writing it up and this should be signed by yourself. The problem with this is that you have no control over where the asset goes once signed. Furthermore, it could pass to someone who you would prefer not to receive it leaving you with no choice over the matter.

By Deed:

The second option is to pass the gift to another beneficiary by Deed of Variation. It is important to note that for this to be read back into the bill must have been executed within 2 years of the date of death. This option allows you (beneficiary rejecting the gift) to have control over where the gift is redirected, without causing any financial detriment to any of the other beneficiaries.

Residuary estate = the sum which is left over once the tax, legacies and other charges have been paid.

Deed of Variation = this is a document which varies the terms of the deceased’s Will. Can only alter the share of the estate which you are inheriting.

How can we help?

At Wallace Robinson & Morgan we offer expert advice to guide you in making the best suited decision for you. Our team of ‘Wills & Probate’ Private Client Solicitors are happy to assist if you find yourself in a situation such as this and are considering a Deed of Variation, or even want to alter your Will in any way.

You can contact us on Solihull: 0121 705 7571 or Dorridge: 01564 779393 to speak with a member of the Wills & Probate department or alternatively you can email us at: w&  

Bethany Jackson
Paralegal – Wills and Probate Department

This article is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute technical, financial, legal advice or any other type of professional advice and is no substitute for specific advice based on your individual circumstances. We do not accept responsibility or liability for any actions taken based on the information in this article. For more information, please click here.