What happens when a Will leaves everything to a person who has since died?

My mother passed away about 3 years ago and left everything to her husband, my stepfather; his Will leaves everything to her. They resided in a community property state. He has not updated his Will since she passed away and has 2 children of his own. If he passes away before changing his Will, do his assets go directly to his 2 children or do his stepchildren have any legal right to his assets (that were jointly owned by my mother and him)?

Asked on July 7, 2014 under Estate Planning, Colorado

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If the assets were jointly held with rights of survivorship (generally how it is with a husband and wife) then they passed to him automatically at the time of her death.  The assets are now controlled through his estate and the language of the Will governs.  It may not be readily apparent to you but there should be a provision in the Will that addresses this.  It seems unlikely here that the step children would inherit unless he redoes his Will or the present Will so states. Good luck.


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