Is a new Will if a beneficiary dies?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Is a new Will if a beneficiary dies?

My brother passed away and my parents have a Will with he and I as recipients. Do they have to make a new Will?

Asked on August 7, 2019 under Estate Planning, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They do not automatically have to make a new will, but may choose to do so. Depending on how the will was written, if your brother had descendents (children, grandchildren), they may or may not receive what he would have received: as stated, it depends on the wording of the will. So if he has children and they want the children to inherit, they 1) need to make sure the will does that; and 2) if the children are minor, may need to designate someone (e.g. their mother) to be trustee for their money until they become adults.
If he had no descendents, everything should then go to you (unless there was some provision in the will stating otherwise--i.e. designating someone else to receive his share if he predeceased them). Assuming they are ok with that, they don't need to do anything. 
So the answer is, they should review the will against what they want to happen now that your brother has passed. If the will directs the money and assets where they want it to go, there is no need to change anything; but if the change in circumstances means that the will would cause an outcome or distribution they don't want, they need to change it. 
If they have any trouble understanding what will happen now with the will, they should take it to an attorney to review with them.

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 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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