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What happens in a catastrophe?

When reviewing your Will, it is important to consider what happens to your estate if you and your primary beneficiaries all predecease you.

Your Will sets out who receives your estate on your death, but has it covered who receives your estate on your death and the death of your primary beneficiary? So, if you leave everything to your spouse, and he or she dies before you, what happens then?

For example, Lexi and Tom are in a relationship and have three children. In their Wills, they have appointed each other as their executors of each other’s estates on the first to pass away, and they are each the beneficiaries of each other’s estate. On the death of the second, or if they both pass away at the same time, Lexi and Tom have appointed a close friend to be their executor, and their estate will be distributed to their children on attaining the age of 25 years. If however, Lexi and Tom die together and their three children also die at the same time (and their children do not yet already have children), what happens then in these circumstances, unless the Will makes provision for that possibility, there are no beneficiaries under the Will. A cautious willmaker will include a clause to cover this scenario. We call this a catastrophe clause.

If your Will requires review, it may be wise to consult one of the Estate Planning solicitors at Mullane and Lindsay to review and update your Will, to ensure your estate is distributed the way you want it (and covers all possibilities).  

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