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

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2012

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

My grandfather died last year. All that his Will states is that all of his estate is to be split between his 3 children share and share. My father (1 of the 3 named children in the Will), passed away before my grandfather did and the Will was never changed. Is anyone else legally entitled to my father’s share of the estate or do the remaining 2 children split the estate equally?

Asked on July 1, 2012 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If the Will is silent as to survivorship of a beneficiary (and please have some one check and confirm that) then under PA common law the gift would "lapse" meaning that share would not go to your father's estate.  However, it is my understanding that PA has on its books an "anti-lapse" statute for beneficiaries such as your father and so his beneficiaires would share equally.  Confirm that with an attorney in your area.  Good luck.

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