When dealing with the loss of a loved one, it is hard to think of the possibility of another life following shortly after. The probate process can be stressful and confusing enough, but what happens if a beneficiary dies before the probate ends. This is a very real possibility and since many people never consider it as a possibility, the steps to follow are unclear for most. But it is a very possible outcome.
At Arvanitakis Law Group, we are here to help no matter what the situation. A common concern following anyone’s death is “who gets the assets?”. If a beneficiary for an estate passes away during the probate process, the answer becomes a little cloudy for some people. Probate can take a very long time to complete in some cases, in that time a lot can happen. However, if you take it one step at a time the answer can be very clear.
Is There a Survival Period?
This is the first thing you check if the death of a beneficiary follows the death of the decedent. If the Last Will includes a survival period. A survival period is the amount of time that the beneficiary must survive the decedent. This clause states that the beneficiary cannot inherit any assets. The survival period, usually lasting about 90 days or less, will pass that beneficiary’s share onto someone else. This is a binding aspect of the Last Will.
General Solution for the Problem
If there is no clause in the Last Will or the survival period has been completed before the beneficiary’s death, then the assets are what is referred to as “vested”.In the case that assets have been transferred to the possession of the beneficiary, then they are now part of their estate. If the beneficiary doesn’t have an estate plan in place, it can reenter the probate courts.
For example, if Sarah gifted an investment account to Jessica as part of her estate plan. Then Jessica passed away, the investment account would be passed on to the heirs of her estate plan – as if her death happened years later.
Although this is considered a “general solution”, every scenario is different and it is best to consult a probate attorney before many any assumptions.
Speak to an Attorney
Probate can be an emotional and confusing time. At Arvanitakis Law Group, we are here for you every step of the way. Probate in Florida can be difficult to navigate and while simultaneously dealing with the loss of a loved one, it can feel unbearable. We work with you so you understand what the best course of action and what options you have following the passing of a loved one. Speak to the attorneys at Arvanitakis Law Group if you have any questions regarding probate and estate planning. Give us a call or contact us today!