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.