What are Residuary Clauses and Why Does Your Will Need One?

One of the cornerstones of estate planning is creating a will, but a ‘do it yourself’ will kit may leave out a necessary provision within a will – the Residuary Clause. One of the cornerstones of estate planning is creating a will. While a will is necessary to name a Guardian for minor children and name an Executor for your estate, a will is also needed to distribute your property. But a will does not specifically identify each and every piece of personal and real property that a person owns. A Residuary Clause is a provision used within the will that disposes of property not specifically disposed of by other provisions. The Residuary Clause is often overlooked by those who choose to prepare a will on their own. “Residuary estate” is a term used in probate law to describe the portion of a person’s estate that remains after all specific gifts and bequests have been made and all claims of the estate are satisfied. The Residuary Clause gives the right to the residuary estate to one or more named beneficiaries. Not only does the Residuary Clause handle property that may have been overlooked or not otherwise disposed of, it can handle bequests that are void due to the death of the beneficiary. The clause will also cover property that is acquired after the will was written, and therefore not specifically mentioned within the will. If a will omits a Residuary Clause, the assets not left specifically to anyone would pass to heirs through what is called intestate succession laws, which apply to the distribution of property for those without a will, but this would occur only after delays and probate court involvement. No matter how small your estate may seem when you create a will, a Residuary Clause needs to be included. Working with an estate planning attorney ensures

that wills are properly written and that they meet the needs and goals of your family. Experienced estate planning attorneys Portland OR of the Law Offices of Richard B. Schneider LLC offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Portland OR. To learn more about these free resources, please visit www.rbsllc.com today.

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