Why Do I Have to Sign a Renunciation?

Why Do I Have to Sign a Renunciation?


What happens when one of the heirs to a loved one’s estate requests the other heirs to sign a renunciation form? What is a renunciation and why is it necessary to probate an estate?


What is the Purpose of a Renunciation?


If the decedent died with a will, the will should state who the representative will be. But if the person named in the will is unable to serve, or there is no will, then the estate heirs will have to agree on a representative.


The purpose of the renunciation form is to defer the right to serve as the representative to another person. No one can be forced to sign a renunciation. But if the heirs cannot agree, then a petition must be filed with the Register of Wills to decide who will serve.



Will I Lose Inheritance Rights by Signing?


A renunciation is not a disclaimer of inheritance rights. A person who signs a renunciation only defers the right to serve as the estate’s representative. The only way to waive inheritance rights is by executing a disclaimer of inheritance.


However, estate heirs might remain cautious in signing a renunciation if the proposed representative is believed to be untrustworthy. The person appointed will have control of the legal and financial affairs of the estate which includes all of the estate’s accounts, personal property and real estate.


How Do I Sign a Renunciation?


Pennsylvania has an official renunciation form which is the only form which may be used. The form must contain the information for the proposed representative, the decedent, and the signer’s information. The form must be signed before a notary to be valid.


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