I discovered yet another helpful legal article in Paul Premack’s San Antonio Express-News legal column.  In this article, Mr. Premack discusses whether or not a Will Beneficiary who died shortly after his mother should still inherit.

What Happens If A Beneficiary In A Will Dies Before The Testator?

If a person’s Last Will and Testament makes a gift to a beneficiary who has already died, then the alternate beneficiaries will inherit the deceased beneficiary’s share.  Usually, the Last Will tells us what should happen with this share.  Sometimes, the Last Will stipulates that the person’s share will be split among his/her descendants or spouse.  Other times, the deceased person’s share is supposed to be split among the other Will beneficiaries who survived.

If none of the alternate beneficiaries named in the Will survives, then the deceased person’s share will be given to the testator’s “heirs” as defined by Texas law.

What Happens If A Will Beneficiary Passes Away Right After the Testator?

In this case, again, look to the Last Will to see if there are any provisions dealing with this situation.  For example, as Mr. Premack notes, many Wills state that a Will Beneficiary must survive the testator by at least 30 days in order to inherit from the Last Will.  If the beneficiary doesn’t survive by at least 30 days, then this beneficiary’s share will go to the alternate beneficiaries.

If there is no provision stating that Will Beneficiaries must survive by X number of days, then Texas state law provides a default of 5 days.  In other words, the beneficiary would have to survive by 5 days by default in order to inherit from a Texas Last Will.

If you have any questions about a “survival period” in a Will, contact a dedicated Wills and Probate Attorney.  If you are contemplating making a Will in Texas, discuss your wishes for the survival period with your lawyer.  If you set the survival period too long, remember that your beneficiaries can’t inherit until after that survival period.  Your beneficiaries cannot start the legal probate process until after the survival period contained in the Last Will.  I can tell you that your beneficiaries will be very upset if they have to wait months and months before they can inherit.




Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on a will beneficiary, inheritance in Texas, survival period in a Will, alternate beneficiaries, or probate law in Dallas, contact Richardson, Texas lawyer Isaac Shutt at ishutt@shuttlawfirm.com.

Shutt Law Firm’s office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, TX, near the intersection of highway 75 and Campbell Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter. For existing clients, quick phone-calls and brief e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC. Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you need letters testamentary, division of an estate, or a probate lawyer in Dallas, Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, TX or surrounding North Texas area.


DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this brief article constitutes legal advice. The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education. If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney for your specific legal situation. Further, nothing in this article shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship exists until both you and attorney Isaac Shutt sign an engagement letter with the Shutt Law Firm, PLLC.