03 Dec Surrogate Determines Beneficiaries of Unallocated Property in Residuary Clause
Any will that is drawn by a competent lawyer will contain a provision called a “residuary clause” which will distribute everything that is not otherwise given away in the will to a Residuary beneficiary – or multiple beneficiaries. In a case in New York County recently heard by Surrogate Rita Mella the Court was called upon to construe a will that failed to deal with all of the decedent’s property. The Petitioner’s application- to give the property not otherwise dealt with in the Will to the beneficiaries who received the other assets of the estate- was successful but the proceeding was undoubtedly delayed and in most cases would have caused additional legal fees to the estate. This proceeding and the delay and expense caused by it could have been avoided by a more competently drawn will. While any lawyer who drafts a will for a client is presumed to be competent it is obvious that not all lawyers perform equally well.
Matter of Estate of Smitt,