Maybe, like a lot of people, you’ve been putting off getting an estate plan in order because you’re concerned that you’ll need to modify it every time you buy something of value. That’s not the case.
You certainly should modify it when you buy (or sell) your home or other real estate. You’ll likely need to make other modifications as your life and your family change. These changes typically don’t require a lot of time or expense.
Assets that aren’t included in your will, for whatever reason, become part of what’s known as your “residuary estate.” That’s why it’s important to address in your will what you want to happen to these assets with a residuary clause in your will.
What does the residuary clause address?
In your residuary clause, you’ll designate a “remainder beneficiary” who will get anything in your residuary estate. You can also designate that the assets go back into the estate to be sold, with the proceeds distributed among your beneficiaries in the amounts or percentages you choose.
In addition to these assets that you didn’t specifically address in your will (like furniture, electronics and jewelry, for example), any assets that are unclaimed (because the designated beneficiary died) or that are declined by the beneficiary also become part of the residuary estate. This is one reason why it’s always a good idea to have contingent beneficiaries for your major assets.
As long as you have experienced legal guidance while creating your estate plan, things like a residual clause won’t be overlooked. That means your loved ones won’t have to deal with a longer probate while these items are distributed as they would have been if you’d died without a will (intestate). This will make things easier for the loved ones you leave behind.