A residuary estate refers to the remaining assets and property of a deceased person after all specific bequests, debts, taxes, and administrative expenses have been settled. It is the portion of the estate that is not specifically mentioned in the will or disposed of through other means, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts with named beneficiaries.
When a person creates a will, they can outline specific gifts of money, property, or other assets to designated individuals or organizations. However, it is common for individuals to include a residuary clause in their wills to address any assets that have not been specifically accounted for.
The residuary clause typically states how the remaining estate should be distributed. The testator (the person making the will) can name one or more beneficiaries to receive the residuary estate, either as a percentage or a specific amount. These beneficiaries are often family members, friends, or charitable organizations.
For example, a residuary clause might state that “I leave the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate to be divided equally among my three children.” In this case, the assets not mentioned in the will’s specific bequests would be distributed equally among the three children.
It’s important to note that if there is no residuary clause or if the beneficiaries named in the residuary clause predecease the testator, the laws of intestacy will come into effect. Intestacy laws vary by jurisdiction and determine how the assets of a deceased person are distributed among their surviving relatives.
Upon the testator’s death, the executor of the will, who is typically named in the will itself, is responsible for administering the estate and carrying out the instructions outlined in the will, including distributing the residuary estate according to the terms of the residuary clause.