omnibus clause

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A contractual provision that operates as a catch-all for items, terms, or conditions that were not included in the instrument or provided by statute. Such clauses are primarily used in insurance contracts and in drafting a last will and testament.

An automobile insurance policy containing an omnibus clause extends an insurance policy holder’s coverage to any driver who operates the insured automobile with express or implied consent from the policy holder. When an omnibus clause is included in a last will and testament, where it is also called a residuary clause, it ensures that any leftover estate assets can be transferred to a specific, named beneficiary after all other gifts have been made. If the will or the omnibus clause catches the residue by establishing a trust to then disperse assets between heirs, that will becomes a pour-over will.

Omnibus clauses also appear in federal statutes. The federal obstruction of justice statute, 18 U.S. Code § 1503, contains an omnibus clause intended to criminalize any attempt to obstruct justice by threat or force directed at a juror, officer of the court, or magistrate judge. The Supreme Court has categorized this omnibus clause as “a catchall, prohibiting persons from endeavoring to influence, obstruct, or impede the due administration of justice.” United States v. Aguilar, 515 U.S. 593, 598 (1995).

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]