Remainder Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Remainder, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Remainder?

(n) Remainder is the interest in a property on the conclusion of the existing interest in that property. Example: If a trust is formed by placing his aged mother as beneficiary with containing a provision that the property will revert back to him on her death then the executioner of the trust is possessing remainder interest in such property

History and Meaning of Remainder

The concept of remainder in property law can be traced back to feudal times in England, where land ownership was held by the king or queen and then granted to lords and vassals. A remainder was the interest created in a parcel of land after a life estate or another estate for a certain period of time had expired or been terminated.

In modern property law, a remainder refers to the interest that remains in a property after a specified event has occurred, such as the death of a life tenant or the expiration of a lease. The holder of the remainder interest is entitled to possession of the property when the prior interest ends.

Examples of Remainder

  1. John created a trust with his son Tom as the life tenant and his granddaughter Sarah as the remainderman.
  2. A lease for an apartment specifies that the tenant has a right to occupy the apartment for one year, and after that, the remainder interest will revert back to the landlord.
  3. A father transfers ownership of his family home to his daughter, but retains a life estate in the property, with the remainder passing to her children upon his death.

Legal Terms Similar to Remainder

  1. Reversion: An interest in property that returns to the grantor after the expiration of a particular estate.
  2. Life Estate: An estate in property that lasts for the duration of an individual's life.
  3. Future Interest: An interest in property that will take effect in the future.