What Happens if the Beneficiary of a Will Dies?

The passing of a loved one affects everyone differently, and their wishes for the distribution of their estate can be a source of comfort for those they leave behind. However, what if the named beneficiary of the will dies before the estate planning or estate distribution? This blog post will explore what happens when a named beneficiary passes away before the estate is distributed and what legal steps can be taken to remedy the situation.

Will and Estate Laws

If a named beneficiary passes away before the will is distributed, the estate may pass to their descendants or other named beneficiaries outlined in the will. This will depend on the specific instructions in the will and Nevada’s estate laws.

If there are no instructions in the will and the law does not specify the order of beneficiaries or how the estate should be distributed, the court may intervene and determine the best course of action. Contact Bourassa Law Group today if you need assistance with estate planning and distribution.

Per Capital and Stripes Distribution

It’s essential to understand the difference between per capita and stirpes distribution. Per capita means the estate will be distributed equally among all living descendants. For example, suppose three named beneficiaries are in the will, and one dies before the estate is distributed. In that case, their estate share will be divided equally between the two remaining beneficiaries.

Per stirpes means that if a named beneficiary has passed away, their share of the estate will be distributed among their descendants. For example, if a mother names her three children as equal beneficiaries, and one has since passed away, that child’s share would be divided equally among their children.

Priority Levels

Different priority levels for named beneficiaries may impact the estate distribution should a beneficiary pass away. For example, if the named beneficiary is a spouse, they have priority over other surviving relatives, regardless of whether they were named in the will. If the named beneficiary is a charity and no longer exists, the request may fail if there are no provisions for an alternate beneficiary.

Beneficiary Protection

It’s essential to consider options for protecting beneficiaries in the event of their premature death. One such option is to name alternate or contingency beneficiaries in the will. This practice ensures that the alternate or contingent beneficiary is next in line if the named beneficiary passes away before the estate’s distribution. It’s also crucial to keep the will current, ensuring that any significant changes in a beneficiary’s situation are reflected.

Estate distribution

Final Thoughts

There are many factors to consider when considering what happens if the beneficiary of a will dies. It’s essential to understand the nuances between different distribution methods, the priority of named beneficiaries, and the importance of alternate or contingency beneficiaries. Consulting with an estate planning attorney experienced in estate law can help to navigate these complexities and ensure that the wishes of the person who made the will are carried out as intended.

If you want to discuss your estate planning needs, contact the Nevada estate lawyers at Bourassa Law Group. We can provide highly individualized estate planning services to help your case.

Call us at (800)870-8910 for a FREE consultation!   

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