Mazenko Law Firm Logo

What Happens If a Beneficiary Dies?



What happens to your inheritance if your beneficiary is no longer alive? If you leave the property to your brother Jim, but he dies before you, will his children inherit the property? That depends on whether your will expresses your intention. The best way to ensure your document is correct is to say so specifically in a variety of diverse ways.


The surest way is to word your will or trust like this: “To my brother Jim, but if he predeceases me, then to his surviving children [insert their full legal names], or to their heirs, __________." The blank line shows another critical choice, but it's too complicated to explain here. Call us to assist you.


If you haven't explicitly worded your documents like that – for example, if your will or trust says, "to my brother Jim," but he has died first, and there's no mention of his children – then the answer may become unnecessarily complicated. The gift would be saved for his immediate family, thanks to "anti-lapse" laws that all states have on the books, but it's safer not to rely on those laws. Things might get complicated fast, especially if your brother's family is a "blended" one with numerous stepchildren.


Attorneys Can Help Ensure Your Will or Trust be Established Correctly

Ensure that your will or trust will work the way you want it to with the best solution, a lawyer. We help families with their estate planning needs and would be honored to meet with you.

It’s important to remember that estate planning is not “one and done.” You should update your plan every five years or so (or sooner if you or a loved one’s health changes) to account for any changes in the lives of your beneficiaries or if your goals have changed.


If you would like to discuss ways we can help, please contact our office at (352) 565-7737. Conversations are complimentary.




A Guide to Thriving as a Family Caregiver

©2022 by Mazenko Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.

Next Wave Services Logo
Mazenko Law Firm Logo

Disclaimer: By supplying material and information on this website, Mazenko Law Firm does not intend to create, and your receipt of such information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and Mazenko Law Firm or any of its attorneys.  Any use of the information contained on this website and the transmission of information to email addresses obtained from this website shall not give you any basis for a belief that such use creates an attorney-client relationship