What happens if a beneficiary to a Will dies before the estate is disbursed?

A person who had Will passed. It states all monies are to be divided into 1/3 shares. However, before the estate is disbursed, 1 of the 3 people passed away. Is the estate to be divided into 2 equals parts or is the 3rd person’s portion paid to their estate?

Asked on July 25, 2015 under Estate Planning, Delaware


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Once the testator (i.e. the maker of the Will) died, then all 3 beneficiaries were each entitled to their share. The fact that 1 of them did not live through the administration of the estate is of no consequence. Accordingly, their share would be paid into their estate and distributed according to the terms of their Will, or if they had not Will then distributed according the the intestacy/succession laws in their state.

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