What happens if beneficiaries die?

It is more common than one might think, that a beneficiary named in a will, dies before the writer of that will.

In this instance, should the beneficiary have been their adult child, then that person’s claim to the estate is automatically passed to their children.  If there are no direct grandchildren in existence (children of the deceased) or the beneficiary wasn’t their child, then any nominated assets are absorbed back into the estate.

Some more detailed wills, anticipate this scenario and add further instructions, often stating that if the beneficiary dies before the person, then their share of the assets will pass to another named individual.

The key to avoiding complications during the probate process is to ensure that the will is drawn up correctly and without ambiguity in the first place.  This involves careful wording and additional clauses where necessary.

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