Any asset not specifically provided for in the Will is known as residuary property. There may be residual properties as a result of:
1. A mistake in the Will, resulting in some properties being left out from specific instructions.
2. The beneficiary to the specific asset has passed away before the testator (i.e. person making the Will).
3. The distribution of property under a Will may be against the law or invalid for any reason.
4. The property not accounted for is acquired after the making of the Will.
Residuary assets may be dealt with by way of a residuary clause in the Will.
Residuary Clause in the Will
Most Wills in Singapore will contain a residuary clause which deals with properties not specifically dealt with. At times, it may be the only key clause in the Will, given that the testator has no specific instructions for specific assets. The residuary clause in the Will is also known as a “catch-all clause” as it prevents any asset from being “left out”. In the event that the properties dealt with by the residuary clause in the Will are immovable properties, the residuary clause in the Will is also known as a residuary devise.
Absence of Residuary Clause in the Will
In the absence of a residuary clause in the Will, the Intestate Succession Act will apply to the residuary assets. The rules governing the distribution are provided for in Section 7 of the Intestate Succession Act.
For movable properties such as cars and jewelleries, it depends on the law of the country where the deceased was domiciled in.
For immovable properties such as houses and apartments, the distribution will depend on the Singapore Courts if the immovable properties are located in Singapore.
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