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HMRC internal manual

Capital Gains Manual

Death and Personal Representatives: Variation of the devolution of an estate: Deeds of disclaimer: Variations: estate: disclaimers: general

A person who makes a disclaimer gives up his or her right to receive an interest that he or she would otherwise have received under the terms of a will or intestacy. He or she does not give any direction as to how the interest foregone should be dealt with after the disclaimer. But usually the person is well aware of the consequences of making that disclaimer and knows to whom the interest will pass as a result of the disclaimer.

In general law, a beneficiary has the right to

  • renounce a gift made to them under a will or
  • disclaim their interest under an intestacy.

A beneficiary may disclaim in writing or by conduct and the disclaimer must apply to the whole of the benefit. The beneficiary must not have received any benefit from the property being disclaimed, although generally they may accept one gift in a Will and disclaim another.  However only written disclaimers have retrospective effect for CGT or IHT purposes, see CG31490 and IHTM35162.

Further guidance on the legal requirements for disclaimers may be found at IHT35161+.