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Georgia Law: How to Renounce or Disclaim Your Rights to Property

Although many of us would like to receive valuable property transferred to us under a will, trust or other legal document, some people prefer to renounce such gifts. Under Georgia law, if you do choose to renounce a property transfer, you must carefully follow all of the statutory guidelines for doing so.                                                                                                         

It’s wisest to hire a Georgia estate planning attorney to help you draft and file the proper paperwork to disclaim ownership so you won’t later find yourself being taxed or otherwise penalized for owning property you tried to lawfully renounce.                                                                     Here are some important reminders for drawing up a legal renunciation under Georgia Probate Code Title 53, Chapter 1, Article 3 entitled, “Renunciation.”                                  

Reviewing Facts Tied to a Proper Renunciation

  • A written instrument is required. It must specifically describe the property being renounced and the fact that the entire transfer is being disclaimed (Note:  Once you’ve accepted property or any of its benefits, you cannot try to renounce it);

  • Even spendthrift trust beneficiaries can renounce gifts. This is factually correct, even though it’s hard to understand why such beneficiaries would do this since they’re not even allowed to spend the contents of a trust according to their own wishes;

  • All dates noted in the renunciation must refer back to one or more key events. These include the date of the decedent’s death;

  • You must keep proof that you transmitted your properly executed renunciation to the correct party. The document must be sent to the transferor of the property  (or that individual’s attorney) – or the holder of title to the property;

  • Transmittal of the renunciation must occur at a legally appropriate time. It must be sent no later than the date which is nine months after the date of transfer or the day on which the person making the renunciation reaches the age of 21;

  • The renunciation document must be properly filed. It must either be filed in the probate court of the county in which proceedings concerning the transferor’s estate are pending   or in which they could be commenced – or, if real property is involved, in the county where that property is located.

Since these are just some of the statutory requirements for renouncing a gift, you’ll need to hire a Georgia probate attorney to make sure that any other guidelines that apply to your case are also properly handled.

To obtain help with satisfying all of your Georgia general business or estate planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia