Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Bankruptcy litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.
Section 541(a)(5) of the Bankruptcy Code says property of the bankruptcy estate includes:
"Any interest in property that would have been property of the estate if such interest had been an interest of the debtor on the date of the filing of the petition, and that the debtor acquires or becomes entitled to acquire within 180 days after such date -
(A) by bequest, devise, or inheritance;
(B) as a result of a property settlement agreement with the debtor's spouse, or of an interlocutory or final divorce decree; or
(C) as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy or of a death benefit plan."
This means that if someone dies within 6 months after a debtor files bankruptcy and that debtor inherits anything or receives life insurance proceeds, the inheritance or life insurance proceeds are part of your bankruptcy estate and could be used to pay the claims of your creditors. In other words, once bankruptcy is filed, the right to disclaim belongs to the bankruptcy trustee - - not the debtor. Therefore, the bankruptcy debtor cannot disclaim within 180 days after the petition has been filed, because the inheritance (or right to disclaim) is property of the bankruptcy estate.
It is possible to disclaim an inheritance BEFORE the person dies, but once the person passes away, there's no legal way to retroactively disclaim the inheritance.