Laws Regarding Renouncing Inheritance in Louisiana

By Joe Stone

Louisiana law permits you to fully renounce any inheritance you are entitled to receive. You also have the option of renouncing a portion of the inheritance. A renunciation of your inheritance waives any claim or interest you would otherwise have in the inheritance. The party to whom you should address your renunciation depends upon the terms of the will in which you are a named beneficiary or, in the absence of a will, in accordance with the inheritance laws of the state of Louisiana.

Renunciation Requirements

Under Louisiana law, if you wish to renounce an inheritance, your statement "must be express and in writing," but no specific wording is required. Two prerequisites must be satisfied for your renunciation to be effective: you must have knowledge that the person leaving you an inheritance has died and you must know that you have inheritance rights in the decedent’s property. An attempt to renounce an inheritance before the individual passes away will have no legal effect. Another important limitation is that the legal representative of a minor can renounce the minor's inheritance only with approval by the court.

Intestate Inheritance (No Will)

If the person leaving you an inheritance died without a will, Louisiana laws on intestate succession will determine who receives your renounced inheritance. For the purpose of applying these laws, you are legally considered to have passed away before the decedent. Intestate succession laws can be complex and depend on the type of property involved, such as whether it is separate or community property.

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Testate Inheritance (By Will)

If your inheritance was bequeathed by a valid will, your renunciation will be subject to the provisions of the will. For example, the will might specifically provide that a renounced inheritance must be given to a particular person or divided among the other heirs. If the will does not include such a provision, the inheritance goes to the person who would have received it had you predeceased the decedent.

Acceptance of the Inheritance and Donation

Louisiana law permits you to renounce your inheritance to a specific person, although the law considers you to have accepted the inheritance and made a donation. Using this procedure, you avoid having your renounced inheritance pass to another individual named in the will or as provided under the law. If your inheritance involves real estate, the writing you use to donate your inheritance must be an "authentic act" under Louisiana law, which means the writing must be signed before a notary and two witnesses.

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If you're an Oregon resident, you can execute a valid self-made last will and testament, provided you adhere to the state's laws concerning will formalities. If you don't execute your will according to Oregon's prescribed formalities, your will could end up being declared invalid. If that happens, your property is then divided among your heirs according to Oregon's laws of intestate succession.

What Is a Waiver of Inheritance?

In estate law, heirs named in a will have the right to waive or disclaim an inheritance. This is a refusal to accept the bequest, and is usually done to either avoid taxes or the inconvenience of looking after property. You carry out a waiver of inheritance by drawing up and signing a document that ends your legal right to claim the assets left to you in the will.

How to Disclaim All or Part of Your Inherited Assets

Heirs and beneficiaries may disclaim all or part of an inheritance should they decide that the inheritance is more trouble than it's worth. It is possible, for example, to inherit real property that is located too far away to be of benefit, or personal property that simply isn't wanted. Additionally, tax consequences may render an inheritance a liability. When property is inherited jointly -- by two heirs or benefices together -- if the heirs can't decide how to share the property, or if refinancing is required and one heir can't qualify, it may be easier for one party to bow out by disclaiming the inheritance.

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