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Estate Planning – Beneficiary Designation Changes When a Beneficiary Predeceases You

Estate Planning – Beneficiary Designation Changes When a Beneficiary Predeceased You

By Attorney Robert T. Brooks March 13, 2019

We have all filled out the beneficiary forms for life insurance, bank accounts, etc.  Once you list your beneficiaries you relax because if something happens to you that particular asset will now pass to those you listed.  But what happens if a beneficiary predeceases you?  Would you want that deceased beneficiary’s children to obtain the portion the deceased would have received, or would you want it split among those who survived you?

Many people are under the misconception that their Will controls their assets upon their death.  That is true to an extent, but your will does not control assets that are controlled by a beneficiary designation.  This means that just because you state in your Will that you want the children of your deceased child to inherit your deceased child’s share, that will not necessarily occur if the asset is controlled by beneficiary designation.

The Heritage Law Group always encourages clients to read the fine details on their beneficiary designation forms.  You need to determine how your asset will be divided if one of your beneficiary’s listed have predeceased you.  It will not always be what you expect or desire, and if it is not, then you will need to put the proper estate plan in place to ensure your desires are accomplished.

If you would like a free consultation to review your beneficiary designations and estate plan, please contact The Heritage Law Group to set an appointment. 

Heritage Law


With over thirty years of combined experience, we proudly serve the Virginia Peninsula, the Middle Peninsula, and Williamsburg. Our goal is to protect the personal and financial relationships that support your family. This includes preparation for times when you may be incapacitated and making arrangements for your family in the event of your death.