If my grandmother died and willed everything to her son but he died first, now what?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my grandmother died and willed everything to her son but he died first, now what?

Grandmother grandfather both had wills in 1980’s saying if I die first, everything I own goes to you. Everything community property. Grandfather died late 80’s. They have 2 sons together both sons have adult children. Grandfather has 2 other children outside marriage. Grandfather died late 80’s. Grandmother updated her will in 90’s to include her grandfather’s only surviving son, leaving out deceased son who died in 60’s. When grandmother updated, she willed everything she owned to the surviving son and his new wife, and no one else was named in her will. And no specific instructions in her will in case her son dies before her. In 2014, son died, leaving new wife and his adult children. Right before his death, he willed everything he owned to new wife only, no one else named in will children, etc. Grandmother just died. If wills grandmother’s and son’s are valid, who has right to grandmother’s property and assets? Her heirs both her deceased sons’ children or son’s wife?

Asked on March 1, 2018 under Estate Planning, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the grandmother's will listed the wife as herself inheriting (e.g. "I leave my estate to my son John Doe and his wife Jane Roe"), then she will inherit: the will instructs that grandmother's estate went to him and her both, so without him, it all goes to her.
However, if grandmother's will did not list or name the wife, but only her now-deceased son, then the wife does not inherit under the will--she is not named in it. In that case, since the will does not leave grandmother's estate to a living person (you state it had left everything to the now-deceased son), the will is irrelevant and ineffective, and therefore grandmother's estate will go, in the situation you describe, to her grandchildren (by blood or through adoption, but not step grandchildren) under LA's rules for intestate succession (who gets what when there is no will, or at least no will which can be enforced).

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