Hereinafter: Definition & Usage

Instructor: Charles Kinney, Jr.
Hereinafter is a large word that sounds like something Shakespeare would have said. In this lesson, you will learn the meaning of hereinafter and its correct usage.

Hereinafter: A Real-Life Scenario

One day, you get a letter from a lawyer. Most people do not like getting letters from lawyers, but this letter is something different. You are asked to go to the reading of a will from a very distant relative whom you have never met. It appears you are the long-lost relative of a millionaire! At the reading, you and the lawyer are the only people in the room. The lawyer reads the letter:

"Being my sole living human heir, hereinafter referred to as heir, you are heir of my estate, in the value of $1,000,000. As heir, you will receive all remaining money after allowances and maintenance are paid out."

Allowances and maintenance? That doesn't sound so bad. You cannot believe your good luck! Your distant relative is leaving you everything! "Wait," the lawyer says, "There is more." What could it be? Jewels, stocks, beachfront property, classic cars? You hope it's classic cars. You love classic cars.

"As heir, however, you are also now the caretaker of my 20 cats, hereinafter referred to as the "babies." The babies each receive an allowance of $50,000 for their natural lives."

You do a quick internet search to see just how long cats live.

Hereinafter in Legal Documents

In most documents, when we want to refer to something multiple times after first stating it, we sometimes use abbreviations in parenthesis after first fully writing out what we are talking about:

  • The United States of America (USA) is a nation in North America. The USA is not only a large nation in land size. The USA is also a large nation in population.
  • Although it collapsed, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was a leader in technology. The USSR sent the first satellite, Sputnik 1, into space in 1957. The USSR also sent the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space in 1961

However, in legal documents, lawyers and other legal people use hereinafter for this same purpose. Hereinafter is an adverb, a word that modifies the verb, an action, in a sentence.

Hereinafter means in the following part of a legal document. Hereinafter is a term that is used to refer to the subject already mentioned in the remaining part of a legal document.

Hereinafter can also mean from this point on in the document. In a way, it means what comes after or what is below. Usually, hereinafter is written (hereinafter referred to as _____), but it can also be written (hereinafter, _____) once hereinafter has already been used. Sometimes it is also written as (hereinafter known as _____).

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