Does Your Will Need A Residuary Clause?

  • Estate Planning
does your will need a residuary clause | estate and probate legal group

Having a will helps ensure that your assets are given to your loved ones as you want them to be. You name your beneficiaries and what each one is to inherit. But, your will still need a residuary clause for money or assets that go unclaimed.

What is Your Residual Estate?

Any assets left after all payments of debts, funeral expenses, taxes, executor’s fees, and other expenses incurred in the administration go into the residual estate. 

What happens if a beneficiary cannot receive the inheritance, perhaps they passed away before you, and you did not update your will? In this instance, what you left to them would also go into the residual estate. 

Your residual estate can include:

  • Personal property that isn’t valuable enough to be listed in the will. Items such as your clothing, Christmas decorations etc.
  • Specific assets not identified. Suppose you purchased land, cars, or any other property and didn’t update your will.
  • An inheritance that the benefactor couldn’t receive. Suppose one of your beneficiaries died or is incapacitated and cannot accept the assets.

Having a residuary clause keeps you from having to list every item you own and covers any assets that are not accounted for.

What is a Residuary Clause?

The residuary clause tells who you wish to inherit your residual estate. It does not need to be a long, wordy clause but should be specific. You should name a particular person or give percentages of each child. Do not simply state that you leave everything in your residual estate to your children. 

You need to be specific in the wording of your residuary clause, especially if you have a No Contest clause written into your will. If one child contests your will based on vague language, they could lose their entire inheritance.

Even without a No Contest Clause, not having precise wording can tie up your will in probate court. Your loved ones could lose time and money trying to fight it out among themselves and the courts.

This is why you need an experienced estate planning attorney to help you draft your will.

Oak Brook Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions about a Residuary Clause, drafting your will or other estate planning topics, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. To learn how an estate planning lawyer could help you, call us for a consultation at 630-864-5835.

Areas we serve:  Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.