Will the deceased children (her step-children) become the new beneficiaries? 23 Answers as of July 11, 2014

My cousin has a will that leaves everything to her husband who has been deceased for 14 years.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Not sure that we can answer without a review of the will. But assuming that the will has no alternate benes, and that the husband died first, the estate would normally go to the closest relatives of your cousin.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/11/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
When a person leaves a bequest to an individual that predeceases them, the will usually provides for an alternative beneficiary. If it does not, then the court will go by the laws of intestate succession to find the heirs of the deceased, not the heirs of the beneficiary. If there are none, then the estate goes the estate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/11/2014
John Ceci PLLC
John Ceci PLLC | John Ceci
Your question does not give enough information to provide a reliable answer. It depends on what the decedent's Will says should happen in this situation. When I write Wills, I almost always include back-up (or secondary) beneficiaries (and sometimes I will include a third level of back-up beneficiaries, so to speak, beyond that). Without knowing what this particular Will says, though, I cannot say any more than that.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/11/2014
Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
Unless the Will specifies that the stepkids will inherit, then the answer would be NO. Stepchildren have no inherent rights under Michigan law and are not considered to be heirs. If the Will does not say otherwise, your cousins "next of kin" would inherit.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/11/2014
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
The will should say something like "in the event my spouse does not survive me, then . . ." and set forth what happens. If it doesn't, then her things will pass by intestacy. Step children will not inherit; your cousin's children (natural and legally adopted) will take, if she did not remarry.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/11/2014
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Step-children who have not been legally adopted are not heirs under the law. If she wants to leave property to the step-children she needs to do so by Will.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Durham Jones & Pinegar | Erven Nelson
    You need to look at the laws of your state for this situation which is called intestacy when no living heir is named as a beneficiary. Spouses, children and siblings are generally the heirs when the will does not designate a living beneficiary. Step children are usually not the beneficiaries, unless they were adopted. But, every state has its own laws.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    No. If the will has no contingent beneficiaries, your cousin's legal heirs would inherit which if no spouse, would be HER children. If no children her parents, if no parents her brothers and sisters. Speak with a probate attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Greene Law Firm, P.A.
    Greene Law Firm, P.A. | David B. Greene
    No they will not unless they were adopted by her or are specifically named in the will.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    Her next of kin will divide her estate equally. Those that are related by blood.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    It depends upon the will.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    It depends. Was the will draft before or after the husband died? Silly question, but one that needs to be asked. Are their any secondary beneficiaries listed?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, who the beneficiaries or heirs are will depend on language in the will, how your cousin's husband's estate is to distribute assets, and who survives your cousin. In your cousin's will, is there a survivorship requirement for your cousin's husband to inherit? Does your cousin's husband have a will? In what state are the parties domiciled/residents? There may be many questions related to the facts of the matter that need to be answered to provide the answer to your question, so without knowing those answers one cannot answer your question whether your cousin's step-children will be the new beneficiaries.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    The directions in the Will will determine who the beneficiaries are.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Stepchildren can never inherit unless they are specifically named in the will. Stepchildren aren't related to the deceased. The order is (this only counts lying persons): If a bracket is empty, you go to the next bracket until you find a bracket that has living relatives, then those relatives get everything. 1st - persons named in the will. 2nd - spouse and children 3rd - parents 4th - siblings and descendants of siblings 5th - grandparents 6th - first cousins and their descendants 7th - great grandparents 8th - second cousins and their descendants.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Maybe. The actual Will needs to be reviewed by an attorney from the State where your cousin resided at the time of her death to advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C.
    Kokish & Goldmanis, P.C. | Bernard H. Greenberg
    Read the Will to see who the beneficiaries are after the husband. If the document is confusing, then take it an attorney who specializes in estate matters.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    I would need to see the actual provisions of the will before I could render an opinion. The answer actually could go either way.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
    If your cousin's will leaves everything to her husband who is deceased then will should state who inherits if the husband predeceases her. If there is no other beneficiary named then her estate would go by way of intestate succession, which means as though she died without a will. The laws of intestate succession are contained in the Ohio Revised Code Section 2105.06 Statute of Decent and Distribution. Under the statute, if she had any children, natural or adopted, then it would go to them equally. It would not go to her step children. If she had no children, then to her parents, if she had no living parents, then to siblings equally. If she had no siblings, then to paternal grandparents and to maternal grandparents or their lineal descendants. I hope this answers your questions.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Assuming that there are no other bequests in the will, state intestacy laws will determine who inherits. Generally if the spouse is deceased, any living children by birth or adoption and any descendants of any deceased children by birth or adoption are first in line. If there are no descendants, the decedent's parents, if living, or the sibling, if both parents are deceased, are next in line. Step-children, unless adopted by the decedent, generally are not considered heirs of a step-parent.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Busson & Sikorski, PC | Robert S. Sikorski
    Step-children do not become distributes or beneficiaries unless adopted or specifically mentioned as beneficiaries in a will. It is possible that step-children could have another kinship status, such as children of a predeceased sibling, then they could be distributes. I would need more information to give you a more detailed answer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    The exact wording of the bequest to the husband is critical in determining whether the bequest becomes a lapsed legacy or is distributed to the heirs and descendants of the deceased husband. If the terms of the bequest to the deceased husband does not include contingent beneficiaries then the legacy could be a lapsed legacy. Another section of the Will could have a default bequest that covers such an eventuality. If there are no such contingent bequests in the Will then the lapsed legacy would be distributed to the descendants of the decedent according to the statute on descent and distribution.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/10/2014
    Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C. | James E. Reed
    The answer depends on the wording of the Will. If all the Will says is "I leave everything to Joe Smith (husband)" and nothing more, then everything goes to husband's estate. The next question then is did the husband have a Will? If so, the assets get distributed according to his Will. If not, then his estate gets distributed according to Michigan law, which would be to his children who survived him.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/10/2014
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney