What If a Beneficiary Dies First?

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A beneficiary is someone who receives part of an inheritance when another person dies. In many states, such as New York, the state decides who the beneficiaries will be if there is no will or estate plan. But what happens if there is an estate plan and one of the beneficiaries has passed away? New York law provides for these cases by allowing gifts to pass to the deceased beneficiary’s “issue,” or children or grandchildren.

What Is the Anti-Lapse Statute in New York?

Passing on one’s inheritance may be one of the most complicated assets of law. When a beneficiary dies, this creates a problem with how the estate is administered. If the grantor did not modify their will to reflect the beneficiary’s death, the inheritance would be passed on according to New York’s anti-lapse statute.

The anti-lapse statute allows an inheritance to be passed to the beneficiary’s “issue,” or their posterity. However, this law only applies to the grantor’s children and siblings. So, if the beneficiary is a friend or distant relative, their children will walk away with nothing.

Can I Modify My Estate Plan?

A preferable method for the testator to control how their wealth is distributed would be to modify the will or trust so the deceased beneficiary is removed. If the grantor wants the beneficiary’s children to benefit as heirs, they may include them in the will or trust. In this way, they can distribute their assets as they wish.

If you have questions about how best to provide for your loved ones after you pass away, please contact our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys. We can help create the perfect estate plan for you, including managing your plan when your family situation changes.

Should You Hire Our Estate Planning Attorneys?

Estate planning can be complicated, especially with the many changes that may arise over the years. We understand that our job as your estate planning attorney doesn’t end with the creation of the estate plan. We will be standing by, ready to help if you ever need your will and trusts modified due to death, birth, divorce, or marriage.

We have helped countless clients avoid the devastating results of having friends and family members left with nothing because of a lack of estate planning. Our founding attorneys went through a personal situation where they witnessed the catastrophic effects of someone dying without a proper estate plan. Because of their experience, they have dedicated their time and energy to helping other families avoid this terrible situation.

Call our law firm today to learn how we can help create or adjust your estate plan to meet your family’s needs. You can reach us at (516)-928-6594.

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