Will - Naming as a beneficiary someone who has already died

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I am trying to help my mother write a will using the Which Wills premium template and their advisors. The service seems very good however despite being reassured by the which team my mother is still worried about advice they have provided.

She wishes to leave her estate to her 4 children split equally however one daughter has recently died and mother wants that childs share to be split between the deceased daughters 3 small children (mums grandchildren). The which template allows the 3 surviving children and the 3 relevant grandchildren to be named and given the correct shares (3*25% plus 3*8.33%) however it also inserts clauses that state that if one of the beneficiaries dies before inheriting then their share will be shared between all the other beneficiaries and this is not what my mother wants, in this case she wants the grandchildren's share to be shared by their remaining siblings and not her other children.

However the which advisers have said that it is OK to include all 4children as beneficiaries and rely upon the clauses that say that if they predecease then the share should go to their surviving children. This seems sensible and would make perfect sense normally but my mother is very concerned that naming a child that has already died as a beneficiary is not legally valid and she is worried about signing a will that will cause problems later.

I know some of you will say that she needs legal advice but this is very expensive and she really wants to solve this problem in a simple and pragmatic way. In all other respects the wording that results from the Which template seems fine, its just on the specific point of whether naming a person as a beneficiary is valid if that person has already died that is causing this concern.

I would be grateful if anyone with legal knowledge could advise on this specific point. She can then consider her options.
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  • unforeseen
    unforeseen Posts: 7,297 Forumite
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    I would have thought that if the beneficiary had died before the will was written and the testator was aware then any inclusion of that beneficiary would be void and the predecease clause would not take effect.

    Proper legal advice is really your best bet
  • wadbanage
    wadbanage Posts: 27 Forumite
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    unforeseen wrote: »
    I would have thought that if the beneficiary had died before the will was written and the testator was aware then any inclusion of that beneficiary would be void and the predecease clause would not take effect.

    Proper legal advice is really your best bet

    Thank you unforseen, is that something you know to be true or just your feeling? I am trying to find out if this is definitely void because Which Wills have said it is OK.
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631 Forumite
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    edited 20 July 2017 at 1:23PM
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    The answer to your question is that it might cause problems If one of the children has already died as it makes no sense to name them in the will .

    Personally, to avoid any potential challenge or intestacy, I would not specifically name the deceased child in the will and would only name those living at the date of the will or just make a class gift to "my children who survive me".

    It seems what she intends to do is to leave one quarter of the value of her estate to each of her children and leave the residue to her grandchildren in equal shares - this not difficult to accomplish.
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,767 Forumite
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    If there is any doubt at all about the wording of your Mum's wishes, she should get proper legal advice.
  • wadbanage
    wadbanage Posts: 27 Forumite
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    pphillips wrote: »
    The answer to your question is that it might cause problems If one of the children has already died as it makes no sense to name them in the will .

    This is exactly our concern it does not make sense, we wonder if we have been given this advice because the template does not adequately cover my mum's situation.
    pphillips wrote: »
    Personally, to avoid any potential challenge or intestacy, I would not specifically name the deceased child in the will and would only name those living at the date of the will or just make a class gift to "my children who survive me".

    It seems what she intends to do is to leave one quarter of the value of her estate to each of her children and leave the residue to her grandchildren in equal shares - this not difficult to accomplish.

    As things stand at the moment what you state is what she would like as the residual would only be shared by her grandchildren from my dead sister, however I guess it is possible that another of us could die before mum. What she wants is for her children to get 25% each and if they have died for their share to go to their children (her grandchildren). I think this should be simple but we don't seem to be able to achieve this with the template.
  • pphillips
    pphillips Posts: 1,631 Forumite
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    edited 20 July 2017 at 3:25PM
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    If she only wants an inheritance to go to those grandchildren whose parents are those of her children who are deceased then the will becomes more complex and the set templates probably won't work. Unless she wants to leave 25% to each of her children and 25% split between the children of the deceased child and then any residue spilt between the other grandchildren. Either way it will probably result in unfairness between the grandchildren. Has she thought about the problems of having an unequal split between her grandchildren?
  • DigForVictory
    DigForVictory Posts: 11,914 Forumite
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    Do you have access to legal advice through work/union? Does anyone else in the family? As what might be an expensive question to ask might not cost so much through a work or union scheme (if at all), whereas making a Will naming a dead person as a beneficiary sounds potentially beastly expensive.

    Please do not get so enchanted by one template that you don't get solid advice from a human whose job it is to ask All the awkward questions.
  • gettingtheresometime
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    Money saved on writing the will usually is spent on trying to sort out a mess afterwards or what the deceased wanted to happen, not happening!


    I can see what the OP's mum is trying to achieve - 3/4 of the estate to be shared between children and 1/4 to be shared between the children of her deceased child.


    Should any of the deceased's children pre deceased the grandmum then that 1/4 is to be shared amongst the surviving siblings.


    How you word that without any misinterpretation is anyone's guess - hence the need for it to be written properly
  • unholyangel
    unholyangel Posts: 16,863 Forumite
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    This is the thing with templates though, they're not tailored to your specific wishes its a "one size fits all" type affair.

    I'm another who would advocate getting professional advise of a solicitor. Contact a few companies and ask for quotes on how much it will cost - some of them are really quite reasonable (some are not though!).

    I would also add that your mother could write a letter to accompany the will to explain her wishes, her reasoning etc so that in the event the wording of the will is unclear, the letter can be referred to.
    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
  • MX5huggy
    MX5huggy Posts: 6,867 Forumite
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    To add complication what happens if 1 of the children and all their children die ( think terrible road traffic accident). Would she want to now split it into 3rds? With the original parent less grand children splitting 1 3rd?
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