Ademption Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Ademption, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Ademption?

v. a taking away or revocation of a legacy, by the testator. It is either express or implied. It is the former when revoked in express terms by a codicil or later will; it is implied when by the acts of the testator it is manifestly his intention to revoke it; for example, when a specific legacy of, a chattel is made, and afterwards the testator sells it

History and Meaning of Ademption

Ademption refers to the process in which an item of property that has been granted in a will is no longer present at the time of the testator's death. Legally, when an item that is supposed to be gifted under a will or trust no longer exists at the decedent's death, then ademption occurs. The process of ademption is derived from the Latin word adequatio, which was formerly used in the context of equity, and which means "to complete.”

Ademption is an issue in estate planning and estate litigation, which means that it is expected for beneficiaries and trustees to have a thorough comprehension of how the process works in order to secure their interests in any possessions that have been willed to them.

Examples of Ademption

  1. A testator leaves a specific car to someone in their will but sells the car prior to their death. The beneficiary would experience ademption because the car is no longer in the estate.

  2. A testator leaves their property to a beneficiary in their will but sells the property during their lifetime. The beneficiary would experience ademption, and if the proceeds of the sale haven't been assigned in the will to the beneficiary, they would not have a right to anything.

  3. A testator gifts stocks to a beneficiary in their will, but the stocks are no longer a part of their estate at the time of their death because they sold, gifted, or otherwise transferred them, and the testator did not provide other assets to the beneficiary in their will.

Legal Terms Similar to Ademption

  1. Lapse
  2. Residuary estate
  3. Escheat