If my brother predeceased my parents, can his spouse claim his inheritance?

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If my brother predeceased my parents, can his spouse claim his inheritance?

My brother died 3 years before my dad and mom, who died May and December respectively. My brother was named in the Will to equally share the estate along with me and my other 2 siblings. He and his wife had no children. Can his spouse claim his portion?

Asked on February 25, 2016 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, if a member of a group dies before the maker of a Will the property goes to the surviving members of the group, unless the Will provides otherwise. So if the Will said "to be divided among my children", then it would be split between the surviving siblings. If, however, the Will had left the property to his siblings by name,“to John Smith and Jane Doe”, then the gift is not considered a class gift. In that event, the deceased siblings share would go to their children or would pass as per the terms of the residuary cluse in the Will. In no event, would a deceased beneficiaries spouse inherit unless the Will specifically named her as an alternate in case of her husband's death.


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