Who does the residual money in estate go to?

I am probating my mother’s Will. After the bequests are given out there will be money remaining in the estate. There is no provision in the Will for distributing this money. I am her only child but when she married my dad he already had children. Mom didn’t adopt them. Does the residual money go to me or is it split between me and my half siblings?

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Are you sure there is no paragraph in the Last Will and Testament that starts with "The rest, residue and remainder...."?  This is known as the residuary clause and it governs assets not specifically bequeathed in an estate.   If there really is nothing that even remotely looks like that paragraph, I would consult with an attorney in your area as to the intestacy statute, because that will most likely govern.  And under most intestacy statues you alone would most likely receive the residual funds if your mom did not adopt your step siblings.  But I do need to say something here.  You as the fiduciary have great power under the laws in your state to administer the wishes of the decedent.  You refer to your step father as your "dad" and I think that the feelings carry through as you refer to your siblings as "half" and not "step."  SO if you as fiduciary think that your Mother would have split the remaining money equally then speak with an attorney about your ability to follow through with those wishes.  Good luck.


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