Who will receive IRA if beneficiary dies before the account owner?

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Who will receive IRA if beneficiary dies before the account owner?

This is a somewhat complicated situation. The owner of the IRA designated his mother as the beneficiary on the account but she died a couple of years ago. The owner did not get the beneficiary designation changed before he died last month. He had a Will for his other assets which named his sister as the beneficiary through a Trust but she died a few months before he did. He did designate a contingent beneficiary in the Will who is not a blood relative step brother. He also intended to

update his Will but did not get that done either before he died. The owner of the IRA was never married and did not have any children. His closest relatives are first cousins. Who is in line to receive the IRA account?

Asked on January 27, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If there was no designated contingent beneficiary for the IRA then it will pass to his "estate" and be governed likely by what is called the residuary clause of the Will ("All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate...."  or some thing of the sort.  If the Will is what is called a "pour over" meaning assets are "poured" in to the Trust then that could be the case too.  Then the Trust document governs.  It is not really that complicated but you need to take the documents to an attorney to help you follow the money so to speak and put the puzzle together.  The documents need to be read to be sure how it goes once the funds are in the estate pool. Good luck.


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