What happens if a beneficiary dies before getting their inheritance?

My mother-in-law was to receive an inheritance from a sister-in-law who died almost a year ago. Now my mother-in-law has passed but was never given her inheritance. Should it go to her only living relative, her a son. If so, does the check have to go to an estate or can it be given to him directly?

Asked on October 27, 2014 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


Christine Socrates / Christine Sabio Socrates, Atty at Law

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If a year has passes since the sister in law's death, then her inheritance will go into her estate and will pass to whomever she listed as her beneficaries.  Depending on how much the inheritance was, an estate may need to be opened for the mother in law in order to distribute.  The son would receive the money through his mother's estate if he is the beneficiary named in her will.  If there is no will, then it would pass through the laws of intestate succession.  If you would like further assistance, please contact my office.  www.socrateslegal.com

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.