Probate and Beneficiaries
If you are named as the executor in someone’s Will, you may have to apply for probate in order to handle the deceased’s estate legally. A Kent accountant for probate services can help you work through everything step by step, so don’t feel like you have to take on this challenging task alone. While dividing someone’s assets should be fairly straightforward if they’ve left a Will, there are certain situations that require a little extra thought – such as if a beneficiary dies. The details around this can be murky, so here’s a rundown of what to expect if this happens.
Wills and Survivorship Clauses
Many Will contain a survivorship clause. This states that any beneficiaries must survive a set amount of time after the deceased in order to inherit – usually 28 days. If the beneficiary dies after this time period but before receiving their inheritance, their share of the deceased’s estate will pass to their own estate in accordance with the deceased’s Will if there is one, or the rules of intestacy if there isn’t. If the beneficiary only survives the deceased by a few days, then they might be treated as having died before the deceased. In this case, their gift will usually fail and they won’t receive anything.
Beneficiary Dies After the Deceased
If the beneficiary survives any survivorship clause in a Will or under intestacy rules (which is also usually 28 days), they will inherit as planned. For example, if a mother leaves her daughter fifty percent of her estate and her daughter dies two months after her mother, the daughter’s estate will still grow by the allocated amount. If a grant of probate is needed for the daughter’s estate, the person carrying out probate must have an accurate idea of the inheritance due (if it hasn’t already been paid) in order to fill out the inheritance tax forms correctly. Of course, Kent tax advisors can help with all financial matters including those around probate, so always seek advice if you’re unsure.
Beneficiary Dies Before the Deceased
If a beneficiary dies before the deceased, they won’t inherit. However, that part of the estate will reform part of the deceased’s estate and can be redistributed. Often, people make provisions for this kind of thing happening in their Will, especially if they know a loved one is old or sick. They can state that if an original beneficiary dies, the money can be allocated elsewhere.
Probate can be a time-consuming and stressful task, particularly if more than one person named as a beneficiary has died. But there is help available, so be sure to ask for it when needed to avoid added stress and to ensure you’re following all of the steps properly. As for writing a Will, this is a must, otherwise you will forfeit your wishes and intestacy rules will be enforced. This could prevent those you love from inheriting.