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Do I have to keep the inheritances left to me in wills?

Great aunt Tilda's silverware, dad's old house or grandma's car -- these types of assets are passed on alongside more financially focused inheritances, such as lump sums of cash or the remaining contents of a retirement account. In some cases, an inheritance is highly desirable and even beneficial to the heir. However, simply because loved ones left something behind in one of their wills does not necessarily mean that an heir is stuck with it.

Refusing an inheritance might not seem like a good idea from the outside. After all, an inheritance typically means that an Oklahoma loved took the time to actually set something aside specifically for another family member. Unfortunately, most people leaving an inheritance tend to focus on the emotions and memories attached to certain assets and not the potential financial burden they could be heaping onto an heir.

For instance, a great number of parents in Oklahoma choose to leave their homes to their adult children. On the surface, this seems like an obvious choice. However, the cost of maintaining a home can be substantial, especially if the previous occupants were elderly individuals who might not have had the money or ability to continue with needed upkeep. These costs added to property taxes means that keeping an inherited home might not make financial sense, in which case an heir must then dedicate significant amounts of time and money into selling the home.

So how can heirs legally refuse to accept their inheritance? Using a disclaimer, heirs can simply make a legal assertion that they will not accept the inheritance. It can be uncomfortable refusing the terms laid out in loved ones' wills, but heirs should also be sure that they can fully support the financial burden of certain assets before accepting them.

Source: CNBC, "Seriously, sometimes it pays to skip taking an inheritance", Kelli B. Grant, July 8, 2016

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