Who will get an inheritance if the beneficiary is deceased? We call this “what if” planning and it is a critical part of the estate planning process. You may be wondering whether if you leave property to your brother Jim, but he dies before you, would his kids inherit the property in his place? The answer is, only if your living trust or will explicitly states as much. To ensure your document is correct, it’s best to say so specifically in various particular ways.
The surest way is to word your will or trust like this: “To my brother Jim, but if he predeceases me, then to his surviving children [insert their full legal names], or to their heirs, __________.” The blank line shows another critical choice, but it’s too complicated to explain here. Call us to assist you (877-585-1885).
If you haven’t explicitly worded your documents like that – for example, if your will or trust says “to my brother Jim,” but he has died first, and there’s no mention of his children – then the answer will be determined by the California Probate Code. That answer may become unnecessarily complicated and the result may not be what you intended. The gift would be saved for his immediate family, thanks to “anti-lapse” laws that California has on the books, but it’s safer not to rely on those laws. Things might get complicated fast, especially if your brother’s family is a “blended” one with numerous stepchildren.
Attorneys Can Help Ensure Your Will or Trust be Established Correctly
Ensure that your will or trust will work the way you want it to with the best solution, a lawyer. We help families with their estate planning needs and would be honored to help you.
It’s important to remember that estate planning is not “one and done.” You should update your plan every five years or so (or sooner if you or a loved one’s health changes) to account for any changes in the lives of your beneficiaries or if your goals have changed. Please contact us today at 877-585-1885 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal matters.
Thanks for reading.
Christopher E. Botti, Esq., Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law