The Brooklyn Eagle has reported that Kings County Surrogate Diana Johnson has denied a petition to renounce a bequest to a grandchild of a decedent in the six million dollar estate of Sharon Lindsay. The total bequest to the decedent’s husband passes free of both federal and state tax but any inheritance received by the children or grandchildren is subject to New York tax which attaches to estates of more than one million dollars. In this instance, the tax on the grandchild’s inheritance would be two hundred thousand dollars. Petitioner asked the court to permit the renunciation of the infant grandchild’s gift to save the tax.
Basically what the court said is “Nothing doing!”. The court noted that even though the petitioner’s position is that the money would be applied to the child’s good and welfare and that the child would suffer no loss by renouncing, there was absolutely no guarantee that the child would absolutely receive the bequest which would have been safeguarded until she reached the age of eighteen. The court found that the best interests of the child had to be given consideration in addition to the claims of the petitioner that the tax saving would benefit the child indirectly . Your lawblogger also notes that there are a myriad of intervening events that could end up by costing the grandchild the inheritance that her grandfather obviously intended she receive. The intentions of the testator need to be heeded. At the end of the day, this was a novel but totally understandable and appropriate finding.