What Is A Residuary Clause In A Will?

Everyone over the age of 18 years old should have a Will. Having a Will means that when you die, any property, assets, and money you leave behind is distributed to your beneficiaries, according to your wishes. When drafting a Will, you need to allocate who you want your assets to be distributed to when you die. But even the most comprehensive Will probably isn’t going to outline who should receive every single item you own.

This is where a Residuary Estate Clause in your Will comes in. A Residuary Clause takes care of anything that is left over from your estate after all specific gifts are accounted for. A Residuary Clause offers peace of mind because it means that everything left over in your estate, that you might not have thought of when drafting your Will or that you accumulated after preparing the Will, is allocated – which can avoid fights or conflict between family members or friends.

If you need to revise your Will to include a Residuary Estate Clause or want to draft a new Will, call our Will and Estate Lawyers Melbourne on 03 9878 5222. We are here to ensure that your Will is accurate, valid, and complete.

What is a Residuary Clause in a Will?

couple getting advice residuary clause in a will

Your Residuary Estate refers to the portion of your estate that was not specifically accounted for within your Will, because these items might have been obtained after the Will was prepared, overlooked or forgotten, or just not accounted for by name.

To avoid conflict between your family members and possible legal battles over your estate, a Residuary Estate Clause can be inserted into a Will, ensuring all these leftover items are taken care of.

  • A Residuary Clause is a vital part of your Will because it accounts for anything you might have missed, and anything you have not accounted for by name.
  • Many people acquire a large amount of property and items in their lifetime, by creating a Residuary Clause it avoids potential conflict over the distribution of smaller property.
  • A Residuary Clause can easily be inserted by your Will and Estate Lawyer.

Why do I need a Residuary Clause in my will?

The reason you need to include a Residuary Clause in your Will is so that any property that has not been specifically mentioned in your will is accounted for and properly distributed. If you do not have a Residuary Clause in your Will, there may be a risk of partial intestacy. Intestacy laws apply when a person dies without a valid Will, or when all property is not accounted for in a Will.

  • A Residuary Estate is a ‘catch all’ because it catches all assets not specifically named to a person or people
  • You can also provide for a range of outcomes within a Residuary Clause; you might state that the first $50,000 of your Residuary Estate goes to a certain person with the next $20,000 to a particular charity, and anything else remaining to particular organisations by percentages, for example.

A Residuary Clause is also necessary in case you have identified a specific beneficiary, but this person then dies before you – and you hadn’t updated your Will. The property that person would have received may become part of the Residuary Estate, instead of being allocated according to Intestacy laws.

Examples of a Residuary Clause in action

couple shopping residuary clause in a will

When drafting a Will, it is common to name specific people to receive specific items. Things like property, special jewellery, particular clothing, cherished artworks are all items which are likely to be allocated to a certain beneficiary. If you have identified an asset by name then it will not be included in your Residuary Estate.

  • A Residuary Clause is what remains of your Will after all debts, funeral expenses, testamentary expenses (expenses associated with your Will), and bequests (distribution of specific assets) have been paid.
  • A Residuary Clause means that you do not have property being distributed according to Intestacy laws.
  • A Residuary Clause can protect your family and friends from uncertainty and ensures that your property and assets are distributed according to your wishes.

A Residuary Clause saves any uncertainty and clearly allocates any items not accounted for by name in your estate to a certain person or people so that there is no confusion.

Why you need a Will and Estate Lawyer for your Will

A Will and Estate Lawyer can take you through the entire process of writing up your Will and ensuring that all items of your choosing are allocated according to your wishes. We can help you to account for a range of contingencies and can include charitable gifts and donations as part of your Will. We will discuss the importance of a Residuary Clause and can help you determine what the most effective way of providing for your beneficiaries is.

Contact the Will and Estate Lawyers at Rose today for a confidential and friendly discussion about how a Residuary Clause can easily be inserted into your new or existing Will. Call us on 03 9878 5222 for a free consultation.