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.

BREAKING DOWN '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. Inheritance

    All or part of a person's estate/assets that is given to an heir ...
  6. Beneficiary

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

    Which Kind of Life Insurance Is Best for You?

    Parse the pros and cons of different policy types to ensure the best coverage for your needs.
  8. Insurance

    Umbrella Insurance: You May Need It, Too

    If you have assets to protect – or just run a business from home – you could be unpleasantly surprised at how much you need umbrella insurance.
  9. Insurance

    Who is a Beneficiary?

    A beneficiary is a person or entity that receives funds, assets, property or other benefits from a trust, will, or life insurance policy.
  10. Professionals

    How to Protect Elderly Clients from Predators

    Advisors dealing with older clients face a specific set of difficulties. Here's how to help protect them.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Can I put my IRA in a trust?

    You cannot put your IRA in a trust while you are living. You can, however, name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between a revocable trust and a living trust?

    A revocable trust and living trust are separate terms that describe the same thing: a trust in which the terms can be changed ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is a family Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

    A family limited liability company (LLC) is formed by family members to conduct business in a state that permits such form ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How is maintenance of standard of living for survivors accomplished in estate planning?

    Estate planning is an integral component of comprehensive financial planning, as it allows individuals and couples to maintain ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the difference between an intervivos trust and a testamentary trust?

    Estate planning offers tools to establish and maintain effective control over cash, investment and real estate assets during ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Recession

    A significant decline in activity across the economy, lasting longer than a few months. It is visible in industrial production, ...
  2. Bubble Theory

    A school of thought that believes that the prices of assets can temporarily rise far above their true values and that these ...
  3. Stock Market Crash

    A rapid and often unanticipated drop in stock prices. A stock market crash can be the result of major catastrophic events, ...
  4. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  5. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  6. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!