window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-166544766-1');

Request your Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



What Happens When the Beneficiary Predeceases in Nevada?

Posted on October 15, 2023 in asset protection,estate planning

It’s common for many residents throughout Nevada to consider how their estate and assets will be distributed after they pass on. However, there are some cases where a beneficiary, or the person who is entitled to receive part of the estate, passes away before the death of the individual, also called the testator. There is a procedure in place when the beneficiary predeceases in Nevada.

Creating a will is already quite challenging, and if a beneficiary passes away before they receive any estate, this can further complicate the problem. Fortunately, you can plan for this possibility with your estate planning attorney.

What happens when the beneficiary predeceases in Nevada?

The Process When a Beneficiary Dies Before the Testator

If a testator creates a plan for what to do if a beneficiary dies before them, these regulations will be upheld. The will may also claim that their assets will become part of the estate’s residue, though the testator must specify this when creating the will. This can also happen if the will makes no mention of what to do with the assets.

That said, Nevada is considered an “anti-lapse” state, meaning there is a statute in place that states the beneficiary’s descendants will receive the assets if they were a descendant of the testator. For example, if the testator leaves $10,000 to their daughter, but the daughter passes away, the money goes to the daughter’s children, should she have any. However, the testator’s money would not go to a family friend, as it would then be placed back in the estate.

What Happens If There Are No Descendants?

The statute specifically states that the beneficiary’s descendants must receive the assets and estate willed to them, and if there are no descendants, it goes back to the estate. In this case, you can then redistribute the assets toward other living beneficiaries.

This is why only electing one beneficiary isn’t ideal, as if that sole beneficiary predeceases, you may struggle to place your assets elsewhere. Should your only beneficiary pass away before you, and you later pass away as well, your assets go toward your estate. The estate is then placed into probate, which allows the court to divide your assets however applicable.

Even if you don’t have any beneficiaries, or if they pass away before you, it’s essential to at least create a plan for what will occur when you pass on. This is so the assets you’ve built up over the course of your life will remain protected and in the hands of people you trust.

What This Means For Your Estate Planning

The death of a beneficiary can complicate how the estate is divided, but other events, such as divorce, marriage, or other family changes, can also require people to review their estate plans. You may also have to make significant changes to your estate plans should an event like this occur, and that also makes the process difficult. When doing any estate planning, it’s wise to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to resolve any disputes or work toward a viable outcome.

Estate plans should always include instructions on what to do when a beneficiary dies, though many residents in Nevada neglect or forget to do this. While we hope a beneficiary doesn’t unexpectedly die from a disease or accident, you must be prepared just in case it does happen. This way, your assets won’t be put back into an estate and will instead go toward family and loved ones you trust.


Q: What Happens If My Beneficiary Predeceases Me?

A: Should a beneficiary predecease you, the assets you willed to them will instead be distributed among the beneficiary’s children if they had any. This won’t occur, however, if you already laid out plans before the death occurred. If you did not create a plan for when a beneficiary dies before you, the assets return to the estate, and you may be able to redistribute them accordingly.

Q: How Do I Avoid Probate in Nevada?

A: Probate cases are often lengthy and confusing, which is why it’s reasonable you’d want to avoid it. To do so, you can create a living trust that avoids the need for probate. The trust should name someone, called the trustee, to take over your estate after you pass away, and you must officially transfer ownership of the estate to the trustee. Doing this will prevent the estate from going into probate and instead into the hands of the people you choose.

Q: What Does Predeceased Mean in a Trust?

A: Just like in estate planning, predeceased means to die before another person does. For example, if you create a trust and select a family member to receive assets, that family member is considered predeceased if you outlive them. This can occur when a beneficiary unexpectedly dies from a tragic incident, for instance. It’s crucial you lay out a plan in case this incident occurs to further protect your assets.

Q: What Happens If a Beneficiary of a Trust Dies Before Distribution?

A: Should a beneficiary of a trust die before the assets are distributed, the person’s shares are then sent to their children. In some cases, the shares can be given to the spouse or their surviving siblings. However, if the beneficiary finalizes a plan for what to do should they pass away, that is usually enacted in case the incident occurs.

We Help Clients With Estate Planning

At Ken R. Ashworth & Associates, we work closely with clients when doing any estate planning, asset protection, trust litigation, or similar actions. We know how tricky it can be to work through these complex legal issues, which is why we use our knowledge of Nevada law to ensure the process is done professionally and accurately. It can be distressing when a beneficiary predeceases, but we’ll help you figure out a way forward should you experience this.

While you focus on spending time with your family, we’ll work on a method of keeping your assets protected. If you have any questions about trusts or estate planning, consider scheduling a consultation with us today. Contact us immediately with any concerns you have.