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Aston Lawyer
Aston Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10458
Experience:  Solicitor LLB (Hons) 23 years of experience in Conveyancing and Property Law
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What is the legal position if one beneficiary of a will pre-deceases

Resolved Question:

What is the legal position if one beneficiary of a will pre-deceases the will-maker, and that will-maker then dies without changing the will to reflect this change? Does it make any difference that the deceased beneficiary was no blood relative of the will-maker? We are in a dreadful quandary with this.
Anne
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thanks for using Just Answer.

My name is ***** ***** am happy to assist you with your enquiry.

So I can answer you fully, could you please clarify if anyone else is named in the Will as a beneficiary. If you could le tme know what the Will says, that would be great.

I look forward to hearing from you.

AL

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

It is my father's will. Under its terms, his estate is divided equally between me and my half-sister, Chris. Chris passed away in July this year. This was unexpected and absolutely awful. We were both named executors as well. Chris was not dad's biological daughter - we share a mother. Dad is now 84 and not in good health: he is disinclined to leave Chris's half of his estate to Chris's husband (why doesn't matter). Dad has done nothing about changing his will: procrastination and apathy, mainly. If dad passes away before changing his will, how would it them be administered? Would Chris's half automatically go to her husband or her children? Or as the sole living beneficiary, would it come to me? If so, I would have to then see about ensuring that Chris's husband got his share, with all the tax implications that involves. I suppose the estate is worth about £350K.

Anne

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Anne,

Thanks for your reply.

It all depends entirely on the wording of your Father's Will as to what will happen to Chris's share.

Does the Will just say "I leave all my Estate equally between A and C absolutely" or is there an extra provision saying "I leave all my Estate equally between A and C but if either of them die before me then their share shall pass to xyz" (or words to that effect) ?

AL

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

As far as I know, al, the will simply divides the estate between me and Chris with no one else mentioned at all. There is no provision, as far as I am aware, for the share to be passed on if either of us should die before dad. The unthinkable has now happened, and tensions have arisen between dad and Chris's husband. I want dad to rethink the way he feels about this, as although Chris and I were only half-sisters, she was still my mum's, and of course mum (who died in 2007) lives on in Chris's children. I feel that Chris's husband and Chris's children deserve something from this. My fear is that dad will die before he gets round to doing something about his will. He is at very high risk of stroke and in poor physical health. His mental health is fine. He just talks about it all and does nothing.

Anne

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Anne,

Thanks.

Please be rest assured you have nothing to worry about.

If your Father does not update his Will, then from what you have told me, the whole of his Estate will pass to you. There is a presumption that if a child dies before their parent, then their share of the Estate passes to their children, but this does not apply to beneficiaries not relate dby blood (ie Chris).

However, the good news is that as sole beneficiary, you can sign a Deed of Variation to the Will any time up to 2 years from your Father's death. This Deed can basically change who the beneficiaries of your Father's Will are. So, there is nothing stopping you (without even your Father knowing about it) changing the terms of the Will so that Chris's children receive half of the Estate. As this would be a post death variation, for tax purposes, it is as if your Father had made his Will with these provisions included.

I hope this asssits you and puts your mind at rest.

Best Wishes

AL

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This has put my mind at rest. As a lawyer you will know that circumstances like these can be very emotional, when really we all need a clear head. Emotion shouldn't come into it, but it does. I loved my sister dearly, and I love her children dearly too. I would hate to think that they wouldn't benefit from dad's will. He also gave Power of Attorney jointly to Chris and I, and keeps saying he'll have to change that too. He's a stubborn old thing, and has been deeply upset at the way Chris's husband and children treated him (and me, but I have a thick skin!) at Chris's funeral. It rankles with him that we had to phone up to find out when the funeral was, were asked not to send flowers, were given no opportunity to assist in the arrangements - although they accepted cash from dad towards the cost - and were not informed of a memorial service that was held for her. It all rankles with him and he's brooding on it like an old hen. He is truly bereft. Although not his biological daughter, she was a daughter in every other sense.

Thank you so much for the help - at reasonable cost too! I am pleased that I will be able to do something for the children -although they're all grown up with families of their own - after dad has gone. Now all I've got to do is keep the old boy alive as long as poss......he's a stubborn old crow, but I love him dearly.

Anne

Anne

Expert:  Aston Lawyer replied 2 years ago.

Hi Anne,

Many thanks for your reply. Families eh!

If I have helped, I would be grateful if you could leave positive feedback, so I may get credited for my time.

All the best

AL

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