It is not uncommon for the person entitled to something in a will, the beneficiary, to die before the person who wrote the will, the testator. In such case, the gift lapses or fails. A beneficiary needs to survive the testator in order to take the bequest. Prob C § 21109.
However, if the beneficiary is related by blood to the testator or the testator's spouse (surviving, predeceased, or former), the descendants of the deceased beneficiary take the gift in his or her place, unless the will provides for an alternate disposition. Prob C §21110. This is known as California’s Anti-Lapse Statute.
Yet if the deceased beneficiary is not related by blood or does not have living descendants, and no alternate disposition is provided in the will, the gift lapses and becomes a part of the residue of the estate. Prob C §21111(a)(2).