What happens if a beneficiary to a will dies?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Deaths, Funerals & Probate
31 replies 62.3K views
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  • I'm sure that is what the Executor will do Fire Fox. With respect to your comments though it is not the Executor seeking advice it is me. I was simply wondering, in the absence of a specific instruction in a will, how far down the blood line the estate goes. It is clearly far more complex than I first thought.
  • rpcrpc Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    In the absence of any specific instruction, the bequest will fail and become part of the residue. For a bequest to pass on per stirpes, it must be phrased to say that.

    A gift that is left to pass down family branches "per stirpes" will do so until every branch has ended. That could be several generations. But if the will did not provide for gifts to be passed on that way then they won't do so.

    A will that says "I leave X to Y" and nothing about if Y predeceases means that the gift X probably ends up in the residue. If there is no clause dealing with the residue, it is a partial intestacy.

    With few exceptions, the will does what the will says. If the will doesn't specify something, then it does not happen. If the will does specify something then it must happen.

    I'm afraid that nobody can tell you anything much at all unless the will is under Scots Law (where you have Legal Rights) or you supply the wording. The executor can pay for legal advice from the estate, so probably best to stand back and let them get professionals in.
  • NARNAR Forumite
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    Have to agree with rpc, if your sister predeceased your mother, it will only be yourself that receives your mother's (one third) share. Not sure who is thinking of challenging but certainly your two uncles share will not increase.

    Only way this can change is if all beneficiaries agree to the grandchildren getting a share through a Deed of Variation.
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    NAR wrote: »
    Have to agree with rpc, if your sister predeceased your mother, it will only be yourself that receives your mother's (one third) share. Not sure who is thinking of challenging but certainly your two uncles share will not increase.

    It does depend on the exact wording of the will. The way my Dad's will is written, money will pass down the generations. If I died before him, my share would be divided between my children. If any of them had already died but had living children, the children would inherit the share.
  • NARNAR Forumite
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    Yes Mojisola, I am agreeing with rpc's first paragraph.
  • RASRAS Forumite
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    There is nothing of course to prevent the remaining beneficiaries from agreeing a deed of variation which allows the children of the deceased to inherit, if the ALL agree to this.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
  • I think it will pass down to your sister's children unless there are other instructions on your grandmother's will.
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    I don't think it's a question of 'challenging' the will so much as establishing what it actually says and what that means.

    My understanding (English Law) is that grandchildren inherit in these circumstances (ie no specific instructions) but great grandchildren and remoter issue do not.
  • antrobusantrobus Forumite
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    rpc wrote: »
    In the absence of any specific instruction, the bequest will fail and become part of the residue. For a bequest to pass on per stirpes, it must be phrased to say that....

    No, I think s33 Wills Act 1837 applies.

    Where -
    (a) a will contains a devise or bequest to a child or remoter descendant of the testator; and
    (b) the intended beneficiary dies before the testator, leaving issue; and
    (c) issue of the intended beneficiary are living at the testator’s death, then, unless a contrary intention appears by the will, the devise or bequest shall take effect as a devise or bequest to the issue living at the testator’s death.


    In the absence of any "contrary intention" appearing in the will the bequest will pass to the beneficiary's issue.
  • antrobus wrote: »
    No, I think s33 Wills Act 1837 applies.

    Where -
    (a) a will contains a devise or bequest to a child or remoter descendant of the testator; and
    (b) the intended beneficiary dies before the testator, leaving issue; and
    (c) issue of the intended beneficiary are living at the testator’s death, then, unless a contrary intention appears by the will, the devise or bequest shall take effect as a devise or bequest to the issue living at the testator’s death.

    In the absence of any "contrary intention" appearing in the will the bequest will pass to the beneficiary's issue.

    Spot on, although bear in mind that some Will drafters specifically exclude s33 in their Wills.

    Get a copy of the Will and take advice from a specialist probate solicitor.
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