Exordium Clause

What Is an Exordium Clause?

An exordium clause is a clause that most often appears at the opening of a will, which officially declares that the document is a will. The word “exordium” means the beginning or introductory part of something, usually with reference to a document or composition.

Key Takeaways

  • An exordium clause is the initial part of a will, which identifies key elements pertaining to the will.
  • The key elements include the identity of the person who left the will, the place of residence, a declaration of revocation of previous wills, and a declaration that the current document is the will belonging to the named person.
  • Beneficiaries of the will may also be included in the exordium clause and other parties that will play a key role.
  • A will outlines how an individual's estate should be distributed upon their death as well as other items, such as guardianship of any underage children.
  • The exordium clause appears at the beginning of the will and is bundled with other statements, such as that of being of sound body and mind.

Understanding an Exordium Clause

The exordium clause also effectively lays out to the readers a few basic premises upon which the rest of the document is based. In this clause, the person who is creating the will, who is frequently known as the grantor, identifies themselves and specifies their role in establishing this legal document. An exordium clause is also commonly included as part of a living will or trust.

Contents of an exordium clause are likely to include:

1. Identity of the person who has left the will.
2. The name of the place of residence of that person.
3. A revocation of all previous wills made by that person existing before the date that the current will was produced.
4. Declaration that the current document is the will belonging to the named person.

The exordium clause may also include an identification of certain relatives of the person who passed away and a list of the beneficiaries of the will. The clause serves to arrange the arguments for the will and identify the people and entities that are likely to play a key role in the procedures to follow.

Exordium Clause and Other Parts of a Will

A will can take many forms. It can be very simple and basic, or long and detailed. The specific components and length of a will often depend on the size of the estate and the volume or quantity of property and other assets that must be transferred or left to heirs.

In addition, the will may also specify the person’s wishes with regards to guardianship or trusts for children or the handling of other personal obligations or responsibilities. Some people even go so far as to make arrangements for the care of pets in their will.

Wills can be written and certified without a lawyer; however, if your estate is sizable and complex, it may be worth it to involve a professional to avoid any confusion after your passing.

The exordium clause is one of the initial parts of the will and is often bundled with declarations, such as where the grantor states that they are of sound mind and capable of making legal decisions.

Other common, basic elements of a will are the identification of the executor(s), the naming of beneficiaries, a listing of assets, and assignments of those assets to beneficiaries in the form of bequests. A will also frequently includes details about the person’s desired funeral arrangements, burial services, and other information related to their final affairs.

Example of an Exordium Clause

An example of a good exordium clause that meets the criteria outlined above is as follows:

I, John Smith, residing at Pullover Street, Jamestown, Virginia, 10340, declare this to be my Will, and I revoke any and all wills and codicils I previously made.

What Is the Purpose of the Exordium Clause?

The purpose of the exordium clause in a will is to state the individual's name, their residence, their revocation of any other previous wills made, and to declare the current will their final will. The exordium clause appears at the beginning of a will.

What Is the Purpose of a Residuary Clause?

The purpose of a residuary clause in a will is to stipulate the passing of any residual assets (those remaining after all listed assets and debts have been dealt with) from the deceased to the beneficiary. It is a safety net that ensures all assets are passed without having to specify every single asset.

What Is an In Terrorem Clause?

An in terrorem clause in a will states that if any beneficiary challenges the will then they will not receive any benefits of that will. It is to ensure that no one challenges the will if they want to receive any of the benefits. The reason is to avoid prolonged legal battles or any discord amongst surviving relatives.

What Is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is a trust created to manage the estate of a deceased and assist in the distribution of the assets. It is also meant to reduce any tax liabilities associated with the passing of the estate and to ensure that the assets are managed professionally.

What Triggers a No-Contest Clause?

A no-contest clause states that if a beneficiary challenges the will and loses in court, then they will not receive any benefits from that will. It is similar to an in terrorem clause. The purpose is to prevent any disagreements regarding the will, particularly to avoid discord among family members.

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