if someone dies before they get their inheritance they inherited assets, but died before they recieved it, whos next in line to recieve the inheritance?

grand father passed away. his will was not read until his wife step grandmother passes. my motherone of the heirs to the will, just passed away. where does her inheritance go from there? shes not married, owes no bills or debt. she has 3 sons including myself. she has 2 sibling, one of which is the power of attorney over my grand father’s estate. Just noticed that someone is selling off some land that belonged to my grandfather, and not sure if the land was in the inheritance. what if that land was in the inheritance. what actions should be taken to ensure the proper channels are being took on the willed property.

Asked on September 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If a beneficiary dies before the testator (person making the will), he or she does not inherit. The issue (generally) is not when the will is read: it's when did the testator and beneficiary (respectively) die? As a general matter, someone dies first ("predeceases") if they literally die before the testator, so any beneficiary surviving the testator would inherit, even if they pass away shortly thereafter. 
A will can modify the above: it can require that someone live 30 days past the testator, for example, to inherit (I just wrote a will like that, at my client's insistence) or that a beneficiary live until the will is "read," but if the will does not say that, so long as the beneficiary outlived the testator, that is enough.
If a person does survive (live longer than) the testator, he or she will inherit. If he or she subsequently (after the testator) passes away, then his or her own heirs will inherit.
Therefore, if your step-grandmother outlived her spouse, her inheritance will then pass to whomever inherits from her. Your mother, as one of the heirs under the will, should also be in a position to inherit, so since she passed, it would go to her heirs (which presumably is or includes you). But this can be modified by the terms of your grandfather's will, if it required survival until a certain amount of time had passed, to inherit.
Who is selling off the land, and why? If it is the will's executor, that may be perfectly legal: sell of the land to distribute the proceeds.
There are many questions here--what exactly did your grandfather's will say about who inherited and also eligibility  (based on survival) to inherit? Did your step-grandmother and mother have wills and, if so, what did they say? Who is selling off land, under what authority, and why? Etc. You need to hire a probate attorney to help you untangle these issues and, if appropriate, take legal action. Or if your potential share is too small to justify hiring a lawyer, it's not worth worrying about in any event.

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