The trigger event is certainly not a cause for celebration, but most people are grateful when they find out that they are going to receive inheritances.
However, there are certain circumstances under which you may want to refuse an inheritance.
You are not forced by law to accept an inheritance. Let’s say that you have done very well financially and your own estate is going to be subject to the estate tax. Right now the federal estate tax carries a 40% maximum rate, and the exclusion is $5.25 million.
It is possible that you could choose to refuse the inheritance for tax reasons. The situation would be treated as though you have passed away. Your closest relative as defined by intestate succession rules would receive the inheritance instead.
There are other reasons why people choose to refuse inheritances aside from tax reasons.
You may want someone else to inherit the property, or there may be logistic reasons. Suppose you were an individual with special needs. Because of your disability you receive Supplemental Security Income and you are on Medicaid.
There are upper financial resource limits that you must stay within to remain eligible for these programs. A large inheritance could push you into a financial situation that precludes you from eligibility.
In such a situation you could choose to refuse or disclaim the inheritance.
Whatever the reason may be, if you decide that you would like to refuse an inheritance you should definitely discuss the proper procedure with a licensed estate planning lawyer.