What happens if a beneficiary of a Will predeceases the maker of the Will?

My mother recently died. About 7 years ago, she made and properly filed a formal Will, in which she gave ownership of her home to her 6 children, to be shared equally. However, 1 of the 6 children died 2 months after the Will was made; in the ensuing 6 years it was never changed. The deceased sibling has 4 surviving children. Does this sibling’s death mean that her 1/6 inheritance automatically goes to her 4 children? Are there any conditions under which they would not inherit her share? And, if in fact the children are entitled to receive her share of the property, does their share nevertheless remain at 1/6th?

Asked on December 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, unless the Will provides otherwise, if the beneficiary was a lineal descendant of the deceased, the beneficiary's children equally take their predeceased parent's share automatically (beneficiaries other than a lineal descendant do not have this privilege).
At this point, since the exact details of your situation need to be considered, you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who specializes in probate cases. They can best advise you further. 
 


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