In simple terms, if a beneficiary dies first, before the deceased, then they do not inherit anything. It usually takes several months to deal with the administration of an Estate in full. This is especially true if there is property that needs to be sold. Because of this, there may be situations where a beneficiary who was living at the time of the deceased’s death dies before receiving their inheritance. This can cause confusion as to what happens to their share of the Estate.
Many Wills contain a survivorship clause. These usually state a beneficiary must survive the deceased by a certain length of time to inherit. This is normally 28 days. If they die before this, they are treated as having died before the deceased.
Where there is no Will, then under the Rules of Intestacy a spouse or civil partner must also survive by 28 days to inherit from the deceased’s Estate.
If the Beneficiary Dies Before the Deceased
Generally, if a beneficiary dies before the deceased, they will not inherit anything from the deceased’s Estate. Whatever they were due to receive will fall back into the deceased’s Estate. However, the deceased may make provision in their Will for the gift to be redirected in those circumstances stating that if the original beneficiary dies before them then alternative beneficiaries will receive the gift instead.
This can also happen under general law where a Will contains a gift to a child, adopted child or grandchild of the deceased, and the child dies before the deceased, leaving children of their own. Then, unless the Will expresses a contrary intention, the gift will go to the children of the initial beneficiary.
In effect, this means that if a parent leaves their child a gift in a Will and that child dies before the parent, leaving children of their own, then those children (the parent’s grandchildren) will receive their parent’s share.
If the Beneficiary Dies After the Deceased
As long as the beneficiary is alive for the time in the survivorship clause, their share of the deceased’s Estate will pass to their Estate. This will then be distributed according to their Will or the Rules of Intestacy.
If the beneficiary’s estate needs a Grant of Probate, then the executor needs to know the total value of their Estate to apply for the Grant of Probate. They then need to declare this on the Inheritance Tax forms for their Estate.
If the executor cannot calculate the exact amount, then they can use an estimate figure and correct it later. An example of this is if the deceased’s property has not yet been sold.
How We Can Help
Here at The Inheritance Experts, we work with solicitors who have years of experience dealing with inheritance claims. This includes cases where a beneficiary dies first. Contact us today by filling in our contact form. Or call us on 01614138763 to speak to one of our friendly knowledgeable advisors.