When a beneficiary who stands to receive a present under a Will dies prior to the testator dies, the gift has no one to go to. This is called lapse. When this happens, that present passes according either to the terms of the Will or to your state’s intestacy laws and not to the deceased beneficiary’s descendants.
All states have some kind of anti-lapse laws, also known as anti-lapse statutes that allow gifts to go to the pre-deceased beneficiary’s household if the recipient is a close household member. The laws vary extensively, so you ought to speak with a certified estate planning attorney for guidance about the anti-lapse laws in your state.
Relations. Anti-lapse laws use based upon the relationship the testator needs to the pre-deceased recipient. These laws mention that a gift offered to a close relative does not lapse if that relative pre-deceased the testator, but they differ in what they count as a close relationship. Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say your grandpa left in his Will a specific gift to your daddy, however your father dies before your grandpa does. Your grandfather never changes that part of his Will, so when he passes away, the gift passes to your father’s children, suggesting you. Depending on your state’s laws, it may also pass to his grandchildren or brother or sisters.
Spouses. Presents to spouses do not count under anti-lapse laws. If, for example, your grandfather leaves a particular present to your grandma but your granny dies before he does, that gift lapses and passes according either to the regards to the Will or to your state’s intestacy laws.