Residue Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Residue?

(n) Residue is the left over, or residual property remaining in the estate of a deceased person after all the specific gifts notified in the will were made and there is no further wishes contained in the will to be satisfied

History and Meaning of Residue

Residue refers to the remaining property after all the specific gifts outlined in a will have been distributed to their respective recipients. In other words, it is what is left of a person's estate after all debts, taxes, and expenses have been paid and all the specific bequests mentioned in the last will and testament have been fulfilled.

The concept of residue goes back centuries and is an integral part of the process of estate planning. Executors and beneficiaries must understand what is considered residue and how it is distributed among the heirs, as it determines who gets what and how much.

Examples of Residue

  1. John's will stipulated that his estate should be divided into three equal parts, with one part going to each of his children. However, he did not specify who should get his antique car collection. After the car collection is sold and the proceeds added to the estate, the executor distributes the remaining property as residue among the three children.

  2. Mary's will explicitly bequeaths her house and savings to her daughter, her car to her son, and her jewelry to her sister. With no other specific gifts mentioned in the will, the remainder of her estate is deemed residue and is divided between her children and sister based on her state's laws of intestacy.

  3. Tom's will contains several specific gifts of cash and property to various family members and acquaintances. After all the gifts have been distributed, the executor discovers a bank account that Tom had not mentioned in the will. The balance in the account will be added to the residue and distributed among the heirs based on the instructions given in the will.

Legal Terms Similar to Residue

  1. Bequest - A gift of personal property made in a will.
  2. Devise - A gift of real property made in a will.
  3. Residuary clause - A clause in a will that describes how the residue should be distributed among the beneficiaries.
  4. Estate - The totality of a person's assets, property and debts after their death.