What happens if a beneficiary of a Will predeceases the maker of the Will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What happens if a beneficiary of a Will predeceases the maker of the Will?

My mother recently died. About 7 years ago, she made and properly filed a formal Will, in which she gave ownership of her home to her 6 children, to be shared equally. However, 1 of the 6 children died 2 months after the Will was made; in the ensuing 6 years it was never changed. The deceased sibling has 4 surviving children. Does this sibling’s death mean that her 1/6 inheritance automatically goes to her 4 children? Are there any conditions under which they would not inherit her share? And, if in fact the children are entitled to receive her share of the property, does their share nevertheless remain at 1/6th?

Asked on December 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, unless the Will provides otherwise, if the beneficiary was a lineal descendant of the deceased, the beneficiary's children equally take their predeceased parent's share automatically (beneficiaries other than a lineal descendant do not have this privilege).
At this point, since the exact details of your situation need to be considered, you should consult directly with an attorney in your area who specializes in probate cases. They can best advise you further. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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