Rhode Island Disclaimer of Property Interest Law

Wills and Estates – Disclaimer of Property Interest – Rhode Island

Definitions.

The following words as used in this chapter shall have these meanings:

(1) “Beneficiary” means any person to whom, and any estate, trust, corporation, or other legal entity to which, an interest in property would pass in any manner described in § 34-5-2, except for the execution and filing of a disclaimer in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) An “interest in property” which may be disclaimed shall include:

(i) Any legal or equitable interest or estate, whether present, future, or contingent, in any real or personal property, or in any fractional part, share, or portion thereof, or in any dollar amount thereof, or in any specific asset or assets thereof;
(ii) Any fractional part, share or portion of any interest described in subdivision (i), or remainder or life estate or other lesser estate therein.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-1

Disclaimer of interest in estate.

(a) Unless barred by the provisions of § 34-5-9, a beneficiary may disclaim any interest in property which, except for the execution and filing of a disclaimer in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, would pass to the beneficiary:

(1) By intestate succession, devise, legacy, bequest; as beneficiary of a testamentary trust or beneficiary of a testamentary gift to a nontestamentary trust; by succession in any manner described in this subdivision to a disclaimed interest; or in any other manner not specified above under a testamentary instrument or by operation of any statute or rule of law governing devolution or disposition of property upon or after a person’s death.
(2) As donee, grantee, beneficiary of an inter vivos trust, beneficiary of an insurance or annuity contract, or as surviving joint tenant or tenant by the entirety, except that a surviving joint tenant or tenant by the entirety may not disclaim that portion of an interest in joint property or property held by the entirety which is allocable to amounts contributed by him or her to the interest in that property; under any deed, assignment, or other nontestamentary instrument of conveyance or transfer; by succession in any manner described in this subdivision to a disclaimed interest; or in any other manner not specified above under a nontestamentary instrument or by operation of any statute or rule of law.

(b) Disclaimer may be made as provided in § 34-5-3 by the duly appointed guardian or conservator of a beneficiary or by the legal representative of a deceased beneficiary’s estate.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-2

Disclaimer by fiduciaries.

The probate court having jurisdiction of the estate of a beneficiary is empowered to authorize the duly appointed guardian or conservator of the beneficiary or the legal representative of the estate of a deceased beneficiary to execute and file a disclaimer on behalf of the beneficiary or deceased beneficiary’s estate in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. This authority shall be granted, notwithstanding any diminution in the size of the estate of the beneficiary or of the deceased beneficiary by virtue of the proposed disclaimer, upon finding that the proposed disclaimer is not detrimental to the interests of the beneficiary or of the estate of the deceased beneficiary, as the case may be.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-3

Form of disclaimer.

A disclaimer shall be in writing, shall describe the interest in property being disclaimed, shall declare the disclaimer and the extent of the disclaimer, shall be clear and unequivocal, and shall be signed by the beneficiary, the duly appointed guardian or conservator of a beneficiary or the legal representative of a deceased beneficiary’s estate.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-4

Time for filing disclaimer.

(a) A disclaimer shall be executed and filed pursuant to the provisions of this chapter at any time after the creation of the interest in property being disclaimed, but in any event:

(1) If a present interest, not later than nine (9) months:

(A) After the death of the deceased owner in the case of a testamentary disposition, or
(B) After the effective date of the instrument creating the interest in the case of a nontestamentary disposition, or

(2) If a future interest, not later than nine (9) months after the event determining that the taker of the interest is in possession of it, or
(3) In the case of a beneficiary who is a surviving joint tenant or tenant by the entirety, not later than nine (9) months after the death of the other joint tenant, tenants, or tenant by the entirety, or
(4) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions, in the case of a beneficiary under the age of twenty-one (21) at the creation of the interest, not later than nine (9) months after his or her attainment of that age; provided, that any court having jurisdiction of the property, an interest in which is being disclaimed, may, upon petition filed by the beneficiary, the duly appointed guardian or conservator of a beneficiary, or the legal representative of a deceased beneficiary’s estate, permit an extension of time to execute and file a disclaimer, for any further period of time as the court in its discretion deems advisable.

(b) The effective date of a revocable instrument is the date on which the grantor no longer has the power to revoke it or to transfer to himself or herself or another the entire legal and equitable ownership of the interest.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-5

Filing and service of disclaimer.

(a) The original of the disclaimer or an attested copy of the disclaimer, if filing is required to be made with more than one office, shall be filed:

(1) In the case of personal property, in the office of the clerk of probate court that had jurisdiction of the estate of the decedent at the time of his or her death, if the interest was created by will, or if the interest was created by an inter vivos instrument in the office of the clerk of the superior court for the county of which the donor or grantor was a resident at the time of the creation of the grant or trust or if the donor or grantor was not a resident of Rhode Island in the office of the clerk of the Superior Court for Providence County.
(2) In the case of real estate, in the office of the person having charge of the recording of deeds in the city or town in which the real estate is situated; and if probate proceedings have been commenced in the estate of the decedent prior to the filing, this disclaimer shall also be filed in the office of the clerk of the probate court in which these proceedings are instituted.

(b) A copy of the disclaimer shall be served by delivering in hand or by mailing by certified mail to the last known address of the person or persons or other legal entity or entities having legal title to or possession of the property, an interest in which is being disclaimed. Failure to comply with these requirements of service shall not affect the validity of the disclaimer.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-6

Reliance on disclaimer.

(a) No person or other legal entity having legal title to or possession of the property, an interest in which is being or has been disclaimed, shall be liable for any distribution or other disposition made prior to the delivery to him, her, or it of a copy of the disclaimer, pursuant to the requirements of § 34-5-6; and no person or other legal entity shall be liable for any good faith distribution or other disposition made in reliance upon a disclaimer, the form of which is in accordance with the requirements of § 34-5-4; and a copy of which has been delivered to him, her, or it pursuant to the requirements of § 34-5-6.

(b) If a disclaimer certifies, with particularity, that none of the contingencies specified in § 34-5-9, which would result in waiver or bar of the beneficiary’s right to disclaim, are applicable, any person or other legal entity having legal title to or possession of the property, and any third party purchaser of the property, an interest in which is being or has been disclaimed, shall be entitled to rely without further inquiry upon the certifications.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-7

Disposition of disclaimed interest.

(a) A disclaimer complying with all the applicable requirements of this chapter shall be effective according to its terms, and shall be irrevocable, upon execution in accordance with the provisions of § 34-5-4, and filing in accordance with the provisions of § 34-5-6.

(b) Unless the will or inter vivos instrument creating the interest in property so disclaimed provides for another disposition of the interest, the interest shall pass in the same manner as if the disclaimant had died immediately preceding the event determining that he, she, or it is the beneficiary of the interest. If a disclaimer relates to an interest disposed of by a particular provision of the will or inter vivos instrument, then the interest so disclaimed shall pass in the same manner as if the disclaimant had died immediately preceding the event determining that he, she, or it is the beneficiary of that interest, but only for the purposes of that provision and the interest may pass to or for the benefit of the disclaimant under other provisions of the will or inter vivos instrument. A future interest that takes effect in possession or enjoyment at or after the termination of the disclaimed interest shall take effect in the same manner as it would have if the disclaimant had died immediately preceding the event determining that he, she, or it is the beneficiary of the disclaimed interest. The disclaimer shall relate back for all purposes to that date.

(c) The interest in property being disclaimed shall never vest in the beneficiary.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-8

Waiver or bar to right to disclaim.

(a) The right to disclaim an interest in property shall be barred by:

(1) Assignment, conveyance, encumbrance, pledge, transfer or other disposition of the interest, or any contract therefor, by the beneficiary;
(2) Sale or other disposition of the interest pursuant to judicial process made before the beneficiary has disclaimed the interest as provided in this chapter;
(3) A written waiver of the right to disclaim this interest pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, signed by the beneficiary, the duly appointed guardian or conservator of a beneficiary, or the legal representative of a deceased beneficiary’s estate.
(4) Acceptance of the interest by the beneficiary; if the beneficiary, having knowledge of the existence of the interest, receives without objection a benefit from that interest, such receipt shall be deemed to constitute acceptance of the interest.

(b) The assignment, conveyance, encumbrance, pledge, transfer or other disposition or any contract therefor, sale or other disposition pursuant to judicial process, written waiver of the right to disclaim, or acceptance of a part of an interest in property shall not bar the right to disclaim any

other part of the interest.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-9

Spendthrift provisions.

The right to disclaim pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall exist irrespective of any limitation in the nature of an express or implied spendthrift provision, other similar restraint on alienation, or forfeiture provision imposed by any instrument, statute, rule of law or otherwise on the interest in property being disclaimed.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-10

Effect on other laws.

Except for the provisions of § 34-5-9, this chapter shall not abridge the right of any person to disclaim, waive, release, renounce, or abandon any interest in property under any other statute or rule of law.

Title 34, Chap. 34-5, §34-5-11


Inside Rhode Island Disclaimer of Property Interest Law