Irrevocable Disclaimer of Interest in an Estate Cannot Be Revoked or Reformed
Description Appeals court affirmed a probate court decision that an irrevocable disclaimer of interest in an estate could not be revoked, even though all parties to the estate testify that the disclaimer did not produce the expected result. The law is clear that such disclaimers may not be revoked based on notions of equity.
Topic Wills, Estates and Trusts
Key Words of Interest; Revocation
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Daryl and Gary's mother, Rachel, executed a will naming them as sole and equal beneficiaries of her estate, which primarily consisted of her home. Gary, who is disabled, was living in her home at the time of Rachel's death. Daryl, wanting to make sure Gary had a place to live, signed an irrevocable disclaimer of his interest in the estate. The disclaimer did not have the intended effect of conveying Daryl's interest to Gary; rather it passed Daryl's interest to his children. Daryl then petitioned the probate court to set aside or reform the disclaimer as a mistake of law. The court held that it had no authority to nullify the disclaimer. Daryl appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Under the Uniform Disclaimer Act, an heir who had executed a complete and unconditional disclaimer of an interest in an estate could not later revoke or reform that disclaimer based on a unilateral mistake of law. The Act is comprehensive and does not allow qualifications based on "equitable" principles or otherwise to allow disclaimers to be revoked, hence the probate court could not "reform" the disclaimer to allow Daryl to accomplish his intended goal.
Citation In re Estate of Fleenor, 171 Or.App. 599 (2000 WL 1874197, Ct. App., Ore., 2000)

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