How To Disclaim an Asset that Passes Outside OF PROBATE

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Estate Probate & Administration Attorney

I have traditionally liked the use of disclaimers to maximize death tax and inheritance tax exclusions reduce N.J. death taxes to survivors. N.J. law allows a disclaimer to be filed at any time as N.J. does not have a gift tax. To avoid the federal gift tax (or use of the $5.43 million exemption) federal law requires that the disclaimer be filed within 9 months of the gift or transfer is made.

A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship or tenancy by the entirety of real property can be disclaimed by the survivor, or if he/she dies within 9 months, by the survivor’s executor. The disclaimer must be delivered to the executor of the first decedent’s estate. Sometimes I have the executor sign the disclaimer acknowledge receipt and then file it with the Surrogate. There is wisdom in filing it, if related solely to real property, with the Register of Deeds as a miscellaneous document so that a title searcher will find it.

Other bequests of cash or other assets owned by the deceased can be disclaimed. Virtually any property interest can be disclaimed.

To discuss your NJ Estate Probate & Administration matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.