Legatee

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Legatee'

A recipient of all or part of a deceased person's estate. A legatee is more commonly known as a beneficiary or heir to the terms of a will. The term comes from the word "legacy", meaning inheritance. If a person dies without a will and has no living relatives, the assets will go to the state.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Legatee'

If a legatee does not want to accept an inheritance, he or she can formally disclaim the assets within nine months of the testator's death (unless the legatee is underage, which in that case they cannot disclaim until they reach the age of majority). The disclaimer is permanent and the assets will then pass to the contingent beneficiary. An heir might want to disclaim an inheritance if it would be burdensome to own (like an undesirable piece of real estate), or if the legatee didn't need the inheritance and felt it would be more helpful to the contingent beneficiary.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Secondary Beneficiary

    A person or entity that inherits assets under a will, trust or ...
  2. Primary Beneficiary

    A beneficiary in a will, trust or insurance policy that is first ...
  3. Escheat

    The transfer of title of property or an estate to the state when ...
  4. Heir

    HeirA person who inherits some or all of the estate of another ...
  5. Beneficiary

    Anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. ...
  6. Inheritance

    All or part of a person's estate/assets that is given to an heir ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What does U.S. law say about contingent beneficiaries?

    In the United States, posthumous asset transfers only require the listing of a primary beneficiary. Contingent beneficiaries ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do I change my contingent beneficiary?

    Keeping your beneficiary designations up to date is an important aspect of comprehensive estate planning. Listing a primary ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What kinds of assets can be included in a revocable trust?

    A revocable trust is an important part of estate planning. The trust document allows a living grantor to receive income from ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How do you set up a revocable trust?

    A revocable living trust (RLT) is an arrangement in which a grantor transfers ownership of property through a trust. The ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What types of insurance policies have contingent beneficiaries?

    A contingent beneficiary is a person designated to receive the benefits of an insurance policy or retirement account if the ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Under what circumstances will a contingent beneficiary receive an insurance payout?

    A contingent beneficiary is someone who receives the proceeds of an insurance policy if the person named as the primary beneficiary ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Why You Should Draft A Will

    Don't trust the courts to follow your wishes - plan the distribution of your own assets.
  2. Options & Futures

    Getting Started On Your Estate Plan

    With some preparation, you can save your heirs from paying a hefty estate tax. Here are some tips.
  3. Options & Futures

    Three Documents You Shouldn't Do Without

    Estate planning is not just about the division of assets after you die. Read on to save your loved ones extra grief.
  4. Retirement

    Refusing An Inheritance

    Contrary to popular belief, inheriting assets isn't always a good thing. Find out what to do if you want to disclaim them.
  5. Retirement

    Skipping-Out on Probate Costs

    Don't let bad estate planning lead to unnecessary costs and stress for your inheritors.
  6. Retirement

    Mistakes In Designating A Retirement Beneficiary

    Make sure your beneficiary designations not only reflect your intentions but also meet the requirements to be effective.
  7. Economics

    What is a Fiduciary?

    A fiduciary is a person who acts on behalf of another person (or people) to manage assets.
  8. Retirement

    Retirement: The Journey Of 1000 Miles

    Substantial time should be set aside to fully outline one's vision for retirement and the specific steps that must be taken to realize it.
  9. Professionals

    Tips for Spreading the Wealth to Relatives

    There are many ways that your clients can move money or other assets to relatives in order to reduce their tax bills. Here's a primer on best practices.
  10. Professionals

    Tips for Handling Client Inheritance

    When clients leave or receive an inheritance, be prepared to deal with much more than mere paperwork or financial transactions.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Carrying Value

    An accounting measure of value, where the value of an asset or a company is based on the figures in the company's balance ...
  2. Capital Account

    A national account that shows the net change in asset ownership for a nation. The capital account is the net result of public ...
  3. Brand Equity

    The value premium that a company realizes from a product with a recognizable name as compared to its generic equivalent. ...
  4. Adverse Selection

    1. The tendency of those in dangerous jobs or high risk lifestyles to get life insurance. 2. A situation where sellers have ...
  5. Wash Trading

    The process of buying shares of a company through one broker while selling shares through a different broker. Wash trading ...
Trading Center