Kansas City, MO asked in Estate Planning for Kansas

Q: If a person passes before they receive their share of an inheritance, where does the money go.

My mom was executor of her aunts estate. She passed in 2000 and left $30,000 to be divided 3 ways. It took a long time for everything to be settled. In the meantime my mom put the money in cd's. My mom is 86 now and just remembered the money was still there. In the meantime, one of the ladies had passed. What does she do with the $10,00?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Scott C. Stockwell
Scott C. Stockwell
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Lawrence, KS
  • Licensed in Kansas

A: If a person is appointed as executor of an estate, that person is answerable to the judge or court who appointed her or him. If a beneficiary of a probate estate predeceases the distribution, the court would most likely refer to the provisions of the will. If the will did not provide some requirement that the beneficiary survive by a certain date, then the money would be an asset of the person who passed away after the person whose estate is being probated. If there is an estate in probate court, the judge must approve the final distribution.

It has been some time since your aunt's passing. If there was a probate estate filed, the court may have dismissed it for failure to prosecute. Furthermore, an executor typically has a nine month period to act, which period may be extended by the court for an additional nine months at a time, as needed. An attorney should check to see the status of any case and seek authority to close out the estate.

Given the amount of time that has passed and the uncertainty about the status or existence of an estate and how the asset may relate to a probate estate, your mother should immediately seek the assistance of counsel.

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