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What is a residuary clause in a will?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Probate And Estate Law

Even with a carefully written will, it is almost impossible to account for everything you own – especially since you will continue to acquire more assets over time.

This is when a residuary clause comes in handy. Essentially, a residuary clause in a will accounts for any assets not explicitly mentioned anywhere else in the document. In simpler terms, it serves as a “catch-all” provision, ensuring that no asset is left unaddressed or intestate (subject to Florida state laws rather than your specific wishes). 

How does this work?

Once your personal representative pays any remaining debts and distributes property and assets specified by the will, the residuary should be all that is left – and a residuary clause permits you to designate a beneficiary for those assets or items. In practice, your will might say, “I leave my residuary estate to my spouse,” or “I leave my residuary estate in equal shares to my two children,” although you can write the clause any way you choose.

One of the primary reasons why a residuary clause is indispensable is its role in comprehensive asset distribution. It is another way of making sure that your final wishes are followed and eliminating estate problems for your beneficiaries and heirs.

While you may meticulously allocate certain treasured items to specific beneficiaries, there is always the possibility of overlooking something. Assets acquired after the will is drafted, or those forgotten during the process, could end up in legal limbo for a while without a residuary clause. By including such a provision, you safeguard against this risk, guaranteeing that all your assets find their rightful place according to your intentions.