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Renunciation of Beneficial Interest in Probate Disputes


When the estate of a deceased person goes through probate, notices that the estate is open for probate appear in news outlets, and anyone who doubts that authenticity or correctness of the deceased person’s will may challenge it.  Challenging a will in probate is not so simple that anyone with a frivolous claim can make the probate process drag on indefinitely.  It is also not so difficult that only people with unlimited means to put toward litigation can successfully challenge wills that were signed under duress or otherwise resulted from undue influence.  In general, if you challenge a will, it means that you must renounce your beneficial interest in the will.  If you are considering challenging a will, you should talk things over with a Central Florida probate law attorney.

What Is Renunciation of Beneficial Interest?

Renunciation of beneficial interest means that you give up your right to the assets that you would inherit according to a will.  In other words, you give up your status as a beneficiary.  If you challenge a will that lists you as a beneficiary, you must give up the right to the assets that you would inherit if the court administered the will.  In other words, the court does not want you to have your cake and eat it too; you can’t say, “The will is correct about the assets that I inherit but not about the assets that other people inherit.”  You must either accept all the provisions of the will or else scrap the entire will and let the court decide the most equitable way to divide the estate.  Of course, this only applies if your challenge succeeds.  If your challenge does not succeed, then the will stays the way it is, and you still inherit the assets that the will says you should inherit.  The legal term for this is “qualified renunciation of beneficial interest;” “qualified” means that it only applies if your challenge succeeds.

A Dispute Involving Qualified Renunciation of Beneficial Interest

When Charles Carman died, he left part of his estate to his sister Theresa Carman and divided the rest among four friends.  Theresa challenged the will, claiming undue influence.  She alleged that, when Charles signed the will, he was not competent to make meaningful decisions about his estate.  Like anyone who challenges a will, she stated that she renounced her beneficiary interest.  Her challenge did not succeed, and Roy Gilbert, the personal representative of the estate, tried to stop her from getting the property bequeathed to her in the will, claiming that Theresa’s renunciation of beneficiary interest was absolute, not qualified.  Theresa appealed, and the appeals court determined that her renunciation of benefits was qualified and that she should still receive her inheritance as stated in the will.

Contact an Attorney Today for Help

The probate procedure is meant to be fair to all parties; a Clearwater probate lawyer can help you exercise your rights.  Contact William Rambaum for help today.




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