My mothers Will

The beneficiaries of my mothers Will are myself, my sister and my brother, but did not go on to add anyone else to her Will. My brother passed away about 20 years ago. Does a third of the inheritance go to his wife or his children or both?

Asked on October 6, 2017 under Estate Planning, Alaska


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

When a beneficiary predeceases the "testator" (i.e. the person who made the Will), there are several possibilities regarding the distribution of the estate. It depends on just how the Will is the worded, in what state it is being probated, and who the dead benficiary was. For example, the gift may "lapse" and go back into the estate to be distributed according to the residuary clause of the Will (although the majority of states have enacted "anti-lapse" statutes to prevent this). Or, a contingent beneficiary may be named who will then receive the bequest. If the dead beneficiary was a child of the testator, then their share may in turn go the their children (i.e. the testor's grandchildren) or it may just be split among the testator's surviving children. Without being able to review the Will, it's hard to say exactly what will happen. At this point, you should consult directly with a local probate attorney as they can best advise you further.

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