What Happens If a Beneficiary Dies While a Will Is in Probate?

Emotionally, it is a difficult situation to think about. The person whose estate you are responsible for administering has died and has left behind a grieving family. Now, just weeks or months after that loss one of the beneficiaries in the will has also died causing more heartache and loss for the already grieving family.

As the executor of the estate, you are left wondering what you should do with the property that the beneficiary who recently died was supposed to inherit. Is it now the property of the beneficiary’s estate or does it go somewhere else?

You Need an Accurate Answer

You want to fulfill your legal obligations carefully, fairly, and in a way that will not later be challenged in court. However, not every situation like this is going to be resolved in the same way.

The best way to protect the intent of the estate you are administering and yourself is to gather the following information:

  • The decedent’s will. You will want to know if the will addresses what happens if a beneficiary dies.
  • Information about the beneficiary’s family. If the beneficiary is survived by a spouse or children then that could be relevant to what happens next.
  • The beneficiary’s will. This could also provide important information about what should happen to the property.

Then you should take this information to an experienced estate lawyer for help.

An attorney can take the guess work away and help you implement the estate plan according to California law. For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call us directly to set up a meeting. We will help you administer the estate fairly so that you can fulfill your duties as executor properly under these difficult circumstances.

 

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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