If the sole beneficiary of an estate is deceased. Do the inheritance go to the children of the sole beneficiary?

Asked over 1 year ago - Lexington, NC

If a sole beneficiary (As stated in the will) was deceased before the testator of the estate. Does the inheritance go to the (adult) children of the sole beneficiary? Even if the (adult) children are not named administrator of the estate? And does the administrator of the estate have the right to contest the will?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John P Corrigan

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Let me add some clarity. It all depends on what the will says about a named beneficiary predeceasing the testator. If certain language was used (e.g., "per stirpes") then the children (technically "issue") of the deceased beneficiary WOULD step into the parent's shoes for the allocation of assets that would have gone to the beneficiary if they had not died before the testator. However other lingo in wills sometimes have a different result if it says the bequest go to "living" beneficiaries at time of death which means the children (in your fact pattern) would NOT get anything that had been earmarked for the deceased beneficiary. Only reading the will can answer you which way it goes.

    My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a... more
  2. Dagmar Pollex

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . John P. Corrigan's answer is correct. I would just add though that if the Will is silent and does not indicate that the share passes to the children or is divided among the other beneficiaries, than state law is used to determine who are the contingent beneficiaries.

  3. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Who receives the assets will depend on what the Wills says regarding the beneficiary or what happens if that person is dead or doesnt take for some reason. If the Will is silent and has no residue clause then it will depend on the relation of the testator and the beneficiary.

    Regardless, the administrator is the person who is empowered to act. Being administrator has nothing to do with beneficial rights.

    As to your question, the person named as executor/administrator can contest the Will but not as administrator. That is internally inconsistent. How can you challenge the same document that you claim entitles you to serve as administrator.

    You need to contact a probate attorney to determine how to proceed and determine if you have grounds for contesting the Will and determining who the remainder beneficiaries are.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or... more

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