What happens to an inheritance if a beneficiary dies before the maker of the Will?

UPDATED: Dec 29, 2014

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What happens to an inheritance if a beneficiary dies before the maker of the Will?

My father was the executor of a family friend’s estate. He died 3 years ago and the friend recently passed. He was named as a beneficiary in her estate. What happens to the inheritance, does it belong to my father’s estate or is it returned to the estate of the deceased?

Asked on December 29, 2014 under Estate Planning, Michigan


Anne Brady / Law Office of Anne Brady

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There should no longer be an estate of your father, but even if there is, it cannot inherit anything post-humously.  Usually, a will will have a contingent beneficiary who inherits if the first beneficiary predeceases the will maker.  If there is no contingent beneficiary, the inheritance will be returned to the will maker's estate and distributed according to the intestacy statutes in your state.

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