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What happens if a beneficiary of an estate dies during the probate process?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2021 | Estate Administration

Executors have a lot of responsibilities when they’re handling an estate, and complications can make the entire process more difficult. The passing of a beneficiary during the probate process can extend the probate process even further, and add new duties to the executor’s list.

If you’re an executor in this situation, there are things you need to know.

What happens with a deceased beneficiary’s inheritance?

There are variables in play that make it impossible to give any single clear answer to this question. Generally speaking, here are the questions that need to be asked:

  • Do the terms of the will specify a survivorship period that controls whether or not a beneficiary has to outlive the deceased for a set period of time before they inherit? Has that passed?
  • Is the will designed to merely reapportion the deceased’s assets if one beneficiary dies? This is common, for example, when parents leave their estate to their children as a group.
  • Did the beneficiary have a will of their own? If so, that could dictate what happens to their inheritance. Without it, any money that is eventually given to their estate will also have to go through probate.

Whatever the specifics, it requires careful attention to detail on the part of the estate’s executor so that they don’t make a mistake.

Handling the unexpected when administering an estate

Administering an estate can be challenging if you haven’t assumed this role before. It may be even more difficult handling the curve balls that life may unpredictably throw you during this probate process. An attorney can provide you with guidance to overcome these obstacles necessary to wrap up a probate case. 

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