What Happens When a Beneficiary of My Will Dies Before Me?

Categories: Estate Planning

Under the common law, whenever a beneficiary of a will predeceased the person making the will (known as the “testator”), the gift intended for the beneficiary in the will failed or “lapsed” and was given to the residuary beneficiary or beneficiaries of the testator’s estate, that is, those beneficiaries entitled to whatever was left in the estate after certain specific gifts were made. This was the default rule as long as the testator did not state that the lapsed gift was supposed to go to someone else if the first beneficiary passed away. If there was no provision in the will naming a residuary beneficiary, the property passed by the laws of intestate succession. In order to avoid the sometimes harsh results of this rule–for instance, when a beneficiary family member with children predeceases the testator, thus depriving his or her children of the benefit of the inheritance–Texas, like many other states, has enacted what is referred to an “anti-lapse” statute to deal with these problems. If you would like advice on planning for the distribution of your estate in the even that a loved one or other beneficiary passes before you, contact Austin estate planning attorney Farren Smith for a consultation.

The Texas Anti-lapse Statute

The Texas anti-lapse statute is codified under