I read your recent legal article regarding wills. I have some concerns regarding my own will and I would like your advice. I am a widower and made a will a few years ago leaving my entire estate to my five children equally. Each of my children has children and if any of my children were to predecease me I would like for my grandchildren to inherit their share. If any child of mine dies before me does that child’s share of my will pass to their children? If not who inherits their share?
Normally when a beneficiary (person receiving the inheritance) pre-deceases a Testator (person who makes a will) the gift will lapse and fail. However, an exception to this rule is contained within Section 98 of the Succession Act 1965. Section 98 provides that where a child pre-deceases a testator leaving children and such children are living at the time of the death of the testator the bequest shall not lapse.
Therefore, in your situation if your child pre-deceases you leaving grandchildren, the benefit that would have been received by your child is preserved and will pass to your deceased’s child’s estate.
It is important to note that the bequest will go to your deceased’s child’s estate and not necessarily to your grandchildren. The bequest will be divided in accordance with the terms set out in your deceased child’s will. Example: Your child dies before you leaving two children. She has made a will leaving her entire estate to her boyfriend. Your bequest to her will not lapse by virtue of the fact she left children but this bequest will go to her boyfriend under the terms of her will.
If you wish for your grandchildren to inherit rather than for the bequest to pass to your child’s estate then it would be important to update your will providing that such a bequest would pass to your grandchildren.