DEFINITION of 'Disclaim'

To renounce an interest or obligation by way of a legal instrument - usually a written disclaimer, or a disclaiming trust. Property may be disclaimed for several reasons: because it is unwanted, because it carries heavy liabilities, because of tax reasons, or because the intended beneficiary wants to pass the property to another beneficiary. Liabilities, obligations, beneficial ownership, or rights may also be disclaimed.

BREAKING DOWN 'Disclaim'

1. When analyzing a company's proxy statement, it is common to read that a member of an executive's family owns a number of shares, but the executive disclaims beneficial ownership in the stock.

2. In succession planning, a beneficiary may disclaim an inheritance, thus passing the inherited property to the contingent beneficiary and avoiding inheritance taxes, as well as any liabilities that may come with the property.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. Can I refuse a gift by providing a "Qualified Disclaimer," and what does this entail?

    While refusing a gift may seem a little absurd to many, there are several good reasons that an individual might want to do ... Read Answer >>
  2. Can an IRA owner disclaim his widow's account but exclude one spendthrift contingent ...

    From your question, it appears that the widow is the sole primary beneficiary, in which case any portion properly disclaimed ... Read Answer >>
  3. My spouse is the primary beneficiary of my IRA. I also have a contingent beneficiary. ...

    A spouse who is the sole primary beneficiary of an IRA can always treat the IRA as his or her own. The contingent beneficiary ... Read Answer >>
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