What Happens If a Beneficiary Dies?

If a beneficiary dies, the assets in a person's will go next to a secondary beneficiary, when applicable. If a person has no secondary beneficiary or if that person dies, the executor of a will is responsible to distribute assets in line with the will or state law, reports Nolo.

A person is allowed to declare alternate beneficiaries for each first-level beneficiary in a will, according to Nolo. This measure ensures someone the greatest control over asset distribution. The will may direct how assets get distributed if a beneficiary is not alive to accept designations. If not, state law normally dictates what happens to remaining assets.