What If A Will Beneficiary Dies Before the Testator in Texas?

What Happens If A Will Beneficiary Dies Before The Person Who Made the Last Will and Testament in Texas?


If a Texas Last Will and Testament makes a gift to a beneficiary who has already died, then the alternate beneficiaries named in the Will will inherit the deceased beneficiary’s share.  In other words, usually, the Last Will tells us what should happen with this share.  For example, sometimes, the Last Will and Testament stipulates that the deceased person’s share will be split among his/her “descendants” (their children).  Other times, the deceased person’s share is supposed to be split among the other beneficiaries listed in the Will who are surviving at the time of the Will-maker’s death.

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. By the way, “testator” means the person who created the Last Will and Testament.

What Happens if the Will Beneficiary Dies Right After the Testator in Texas?

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

If there is no provision in the Last Will and Testament stating that the Will Beneficiaries must survive by X number of days, then Texas state law provides a default of 5 days.  In other words, the Will 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 Texas Last Will and Testament, 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 estate planning 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.


 To ask a legal question or get legal help from the Texas estate planning attorneys and probate attorneys at Shutt Law Firm, use the online contact form, schedule a Texas probate consultation, or call (214) 302-8197.

Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on Texas probate,Texas Last Will and Testament survivor periods, avoiding probate with Texas revocable trusts, or other Texas estate planning documents, contact the Richardson Estate Planning Attorneys at office@shuttlawfirm.com.

Shutt Law Firm’s estate planning and probate law office is conveniently located just north of Dallas, Texas, and just South of Plano. The law office is near the intersection of highway 75 and Arapaho Road in Richardson, TX.


You can also call Shutt Law Firm at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this article or to discuss a different legal matter.

Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you want to know about how to get a trust in Texas, more about a Texas Last Will and Testament, or you need Dallas Estate Planning Attorneys serving Richardson, Plano, Allen, McKinney, Garland, Addison, Rockwall, TX, Collin County, Dallas County, 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 and is believed to be accurate as of the time it was originally prepared, and laws change. If you have a legal question, you should consult a lawyer 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 an attorney at Shutt Law Firm sign an engagement letter.



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