Definition of contingent remainder
contingent remainder (plural contingent remainders)
- (law) An interest in property that is owned by a party that can not be identified until the interest vests.
Example: Joe leaves property "to Mike for life, and then to Mike's oldest surviving child"; since it is not known who will be Mike's oldest surviving child at the time of Mike's death, ownership of the property is a contingent remainder.
A remainder is contingent if one or more of the following is true: (1) it is given to an unascertained or unborn person, (2) it is made contingent upon the occurrence of some event other than the natural termination of the preceding estates. For example, if we assume that B is alive, and O conveys "to A for life, then to the heirs of B...", then the remainder is contingent because the heirs of B cannot be ascertained until B dies. No living person can have actual heirs, only heirs apparent.
- Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.
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