The Probate law in New Jersey was revised.. Sometimes a beneficiary may want to disclaim an inheritance for personal or tax reasons.
Disclaimers- When a beneficiary renounces their right to inherit
A disclaimer is a formal legal process by which a beneficiary (heir) states that they do not wish to accept a bequest under a will. It is also called a renunciation. For example, if you are named as a beneficiary under your uncle's will and your uncle dies and you are in the midst of a major lawsuit you might prefer not to accept the inheritance and instead let it pass to another family member. To do this you must meet the legal requirements of a disclaimer in your state. This may consist of filing a formal notice with the executor (person in charge of your uncle's will) and the court. To qualify as a disclaimer for federal estate tax purposes (so that your disclaimer won't be treated as a gift made by you) it must be done within nine months of your uncle's death. Importantly, you cannot accept any benefit from the property you are disclaiming. For example, you cannot cash a dividend check on the stock your uncle left you and then disclaim. Disclaimers are a powerful estate tax planning tool as well. More info at
The following is the revised law or disclaimer, sometimes called Renunciation.
3B:9-2 Disclaimer of an interested party.
3B:9-2. a. Any person who is an heir, or a devisee or beneficiary under a will or testamentary trust, or appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a will or testamentary trust, including a person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, may disclaim in whole or in part any property or interest therein, including a future interest, by delivering and filing a disclaimer under this chapter.
b. Any person who is a grantee, donee, surviving joint tenant, surviving party to a P.O.D. account or a trust deposit account, person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, beneficiary under a nontestamentary instrument or contract, appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a nontestamentary instrument, or a beneficiary under an insurance policy, may disclaim in whole or in part any such property or interest therein by delivering, and if required by N.J.S. 3B:9-7, by filing, a written disclaimer under this chapter.
c. A surviving joint tenant may disclaim as a separate interest any property or interest therein devolving to him by right of survivorship without regard to the extent, if any, the surviving joint tenant contributed to the creation of the joint property interest.
d. A disclaimer may be of a pecuniary or a fractional share, expressed as either a percentage or dollar amount, specific property or any limited interest or estate.
3B:9-3 Requirements of a disclaimer.
3B:9-3. a. A disclaimer shall be in writing, signed and acknowledged by the person disclaiming, and shall:
(1)Describe the property, interest, power or discretion disclaimed;
(2)If the property interest disclaimed is real property, identify the municipality and county in which the real property is situated; and
(3) Declare the disclaimer and the extent thereof.
b. The disclaimer shall be made within the time prescribed by section 68 of P.L. 2004, c.132 (C. 3B:9-4.2).
3B:9-4.2 Time for disclaiming.
68. a. The disclaimer of an interest in property may be delivered, and if required by this chapter filed, at any time after the effective date of the governing instrument, or in the case of an intestacy, at any time after the death of the intestate decedent, and must be delivered, and if required by this chapter filed, before the right to disclaim is barred by N.J.S. 3B:9-10. With respect to joint property, the barring of the right to disclaim the present interest does not bar the right to disclaim the future interest.
b. The disclaimer of a power or discretion by a fiduciary, including an agent acting on behalf of a principal within the implied or general authority of a power of attorney, in a fiduciary capacity may be made at any time, before or after exercise.
3B:9-6 Delivering and filing disclaimer.
3B:9-6. a. The disclaimer of an interest by an intestate heir, or a person who is a devisee or beneficiary under a will or a testamentary trust or who is an appointee under a power of appointment exercised by a will or testamentary trust, including a person succeeding to a disclaimed interest, shall be filed in the office of the surrogate or clerk of the Superior Court in which proceedings have been commenced or will be commenced for the administration of the estate of the decedent or deceased donee of the power of appointment. A copy of the disclaimer shall also be delivered to any personal representative, or other fiduciary of the decedent or to the donee of the power or to the holder of the legal title to which the interest relates. The fiduciary shall promptly notify the person or persons who take the disclaimed interest, although any such failure to provide the notice required herein shall not affect the validity of the disclaimer.
b.The disclaimer of an interest in property, other than property passing under or pursuant to a will or testamentary trust shall be delivered to the fiduciary, payor or other person having legal title to or possession of the property or interest disclaimed or who is entitled thereto in the event of disclaimer. Any fiduciary, payor or other person having title to or possession of the property or interest who receives such disclaimer shall promptly notify the person or persons who take the disclaimed interest, although any such failure to provide the notice required herein shall not affect the validity of the disclaimer.
c.In the case of a disclaimer by a fiduciary of a power or discretion:
(1)If such disclaimer is made after court authorization, the fiduciary shall deliver a copy to such person or persons and in such manner as shall be directed by the court; or
(2)If such disclaimer is made without court authorization pursuant to N.J.S.3B:9-4(a), the fiduciary shall deliver a copy to all co-fiduciaries, but if there are none, then to all persons whose property interests are affected by the disclaimer.
d.In the case of a will or testamentary trust or power of appointment under a will or testamentary trust, if real property or any interest therein is disclaimed, the surrogate or clerk of the Superior Court, as the case may be, shall forthwith forward a copy of the disclaimer for filing in the office of the clerk or register of deeds and mortgages of the county in which the real property is situated. In the case of a nontestamentary instrument or contract, if real property or any interest therein is disclaimed, the original thereof shall be filed in the office of the clerk or register of deeds and mortgages of the county in which the real property is situated.
e.For the purposes of this section, delivery may be effected: (1) in person; (2) by registered or certified mail; or (3) by another means which is reasonably likely to accomplish delivery.
3B:9-7 Recording of disclaimer where real property or interest therein is disclaimed.
3B:9-7. Each county clerk or register of deeds and mortgages shall provide a book to be entitled Disclaimers, so arranged that he may record therein:
a.The name of the disclaimant;
b.The name of the decedent or the name of the donee of the power of appointment, the name of the trustee or other person having legal title to, or possession of, the property or interest disclaimed or entitled thereto in the event of disclaimer or the name of the donee of the power of appointment;
c.The location of the property;
d.The file number of the county clerk's office or the office of register of deeds and mortgages indorsed upon each disclaimer filed;
e.The date of filing the disclaimer.
The county clerk or the register of deeds and mortgages shall maintain in the record an alphabetical index of the names of all disclaimants stated in any disclaimer file, and also keep in his office for public inspection, all disclaimers so filed therein.
3B:9-13. An interest in property existing on February 28, 1980, as to which, if a present interest, the time for filing a disclaimer under this chapter has not expired, or if a future interest, the interest has not become indefeasibly vested or the taker finally ascertained, may be disclaimed within 9 months after February 28, 1980.
An interest in property existing on the effective date of this chapter as amended and supplemented by P.L. 2004, c.132 (C. 3B:3-33.1 et al.) as to which the right to disclaim has not been barred by prior law may be disclaimed at any time before the right to disclaim is barred by N.J.S. 3B:9-10.
Amended 2004, c.132, s.76.