If you’re leaving assets behind for your loved ones after you pass away, one thing you need to think about is what happens if a beneficiary passes away before they receive an inheritance. For example, if you pass away and your property has to go through probate, it could take many weeks or months to resolve how to distribute your assets.
If your beneficiary dies in that timeframe, then their death will affect the administration of your estate. The deceased party’s estate can still claim the assets that were willed to them, but this also requires the probating of the beneficiary’s estate.
This is something that you may be able to plan for in your will or estate plan. If someone who is marked as a beneficiary on your estate plan does pass before assets are passed to them, you may decide that those should immediately go to their spouse or to another beneficiary. You may want to speak with your attorney about setting up arrangements for unexpected events like this.
Another thing that might help is having a trust since trusts don’t generally have to go through probate. You may be able to set up a trust to distribute to the individual’s spouse or estate if they pass, which saves you the trouble of having your estate put on hold in probate due to requiring probate on a beneficiary’s estate before assets can be distributed.
Your attorney can talk to you more about this possibility and how you can prepare for the event of a beneficiary passing away unexpectedly.