What happens if your Executor or Beneficiary dies before you?

If there was nobody to administer your estate, what would happen? And where would your money go if one of your Beneficiaries died before you? This blog answers some of the trickier questions around Will-writing.

If you’ve made a Will, you might think you have everything taken care of. So what if your Executor dies before you? Or one of your Beneficiaries passes away while you’re still living?

There are steps you can take to plan for these scenarios. We hope you find the explanations below useful. Remember, estate planning is a complex process. If you want your legacy to be received by the right people, it’s a good idea to make sure your Will covers such events.

What happens if an Executor predeceases you?

If your Executor were to pass away before you, it’s possible to appoint another executor. You don’t have to write a new Will, you can use a codicil to appoint the new Executor.

Sometimes there isn’t enough time to name another Executor. For example, if the Testator is in poor health or dies soon after the Executor. If there is no living Executor in place at the time of your death, your estate would have to go through probate.

You may appoint up to four Executors in your Will. In the case that one of them died before you, the other Executor(s) would take responsibility for administering your estate. It’s a good idea to appoint more than one Executor for this reason.

What happens if a Beneficiary predeceases you?

The answer depends on the circumstances.

Generally speaking, if a beneficiary dies before you, their gift lapses – it becomes null and void as if it never existed. Their share is then distributed as part of your estate to the remaining beneficiaries. It is possible to redirect the share of your deceased beneficiary, provided you have left instructions in your Will to this effect. For example, ‘Sarah will receive X. In the event that Sarah’s death precedes mine, X will be distributed to…’

However, if your beneficiary is a direct descendant (your child or grandchild, for instance) and they have surviving children, the deceased’s share would pass to those children.

What happens if a Beneficiary dies before your estate is distributed?

If your beneficiary dies after you, but before your estate has been distributed, their share would not lapse. Instead, your gift would be inherited by your beneficiary’s estate and it would be distributed as per their Will. If they have no Will, then the laws of intestacy would decide how their estate is distributed.

When you make a Will, you hope that the people you leave your legacy to will live long after you. Death, like life, is unpredictable. Sometimes Beneficiaries and Executors pass away before. We have outlined some common scenarios above, though many others could happen: all your Executors predecease you, or all of your Beneficiaries, for example.

Estate planning is complicated. Always take professional advice before making your Will, so you can be sure that no stone is unturned. Call My Family Legacy on 0117 2795507 for a confidential, no-obligation chat.

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