Ademption


Ademption

Ademption is a term used in the law of wills to determine what happens when property bequeathed under a will is no longer in the testator's estate when the testator dies. For devises of specific items of property, called specific gifts, the property is "adeemed", and the gift fails. If, for example, the will bequeathed the testator's car to a specific person, but the testator owned no car at the time of his death, the gift would be adeemed and the beneficiary would receive no gift at all.

A general devise or general gift - gifts of cash amounts - are never adeemed. If there is not enough cash in the testator's estate to satisfy the gift, then other assets in the residuary estate are sold to raise the necessary cash.

Some property lies in a gray area, where the testator's specific intent must be determined. For example, where the testator bequeathes "500 shares of stock" in a company, this may be read as a general devise (that the estate should purchase and convey the particular stocks to the beneficiary), or it may be read as a specific devise, particularly if the testator used a possessive ("my" 500 shares"). Such a gift is deemed to be a demonstrative gift. Such demonstrative gifts are deemed to be a hybrid of both specific and general gifts. If one were to bequeath "500 shares of stock," most states would deem that to be a demonstrative gift. The resultant gift to the heir receiving "500 shares," would be the date of death value of 500 shares of that particular stock.

Ademption may also be waived if the property leaves the estate after the testator has been declared incompetent. Furthermore, in some cases the beneficiary will be entitled to the proceeds from the sale of property, or to the insurance payout for property that is lost or destroyed.

To avoid confusion as to what may or may not be adeemed, it is advisable that the phrase "if owned by me at my death" be placed into the articles of a will in which property is being bequeathed.

As for the sale of land under an executory contract, traditional case law agrees that ademption occurs upon the death of the testator and that the proceeds of sale, when the closing, occurs should not pass to the specific devisee of the property. However, the more modern view and the Uniform Probate Code, which has been adopted by some states, disagrees. These jurisdictions find that when property subject to specific devise is placed under contract of sale before the decedent's death, the proceeds of the sale will pass to the specific devisee.


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  • ademption — ademp·tion /ə demp shən/ n [Latin ademptio, from adimere to take away, from ad to + emere to buy, obtain] 1: the revocation of a gift in a will inferred from the disposal (as by sale) of the property by the maker of the will before he or she dies …   Law dictionary

  • ademption — ⇒ADEMPTION, subst. fém. DR. ANC. ,,Révocation d un legs, d une donation. (LITTRÉ). Rem. 1. Noté comme ,,peu usité par Ac. 1835, Ac. 1878, Ac. t. 1 1932 et vieilli par DG. 2. Lar. 19e, Lar. 20e et Lar. encyclop. sont les seuls à donner un autre… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ademption — A*demp tion ([.a]*d[e^]mp sh[u^]n), n. [L. ademptio, fr. adimere, ademptum, to take away; ad + emere to buy, orig. to take.] (Law) The revocation or taking away of a grant, donation, legacy, or the like. Bouvier. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ademption — ADEMPTION. s. fém. Terme de Jurisprudence. Révocation d un legs, d une donation, etc …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • ademption — [ə demp′shən] n. [< L ademptio, a taking away < adimere, take away < ad , to + emere, take, buy: see REDEEM] Law the extinction of a legacy by, or inferred from, an act of the testator before death, as by the disposal of the bequeathed… …   English World dictionary

  • ademption — The extinction or satisfaction of a legacy by some act of the testator, which indicates either a revocation or an intention to revoke the bequest. American Trust & Banking Co. v Balfour, 138 Tenn 385, 198 SW 70, 57 Am J1st Wills § 1580. The… …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • ademption — /euh demp sheuhn/, n. Law. the failure of a legacy because the subject matter no longer belongs to the testator s estate at death. [1580 90; < L ademption (s. of ademptio) a taking away, equiv. to adempt(us) (ad AD + em(p) , s. of emere to take + …   Universalium

  • ademption — əˈdem(p)shən, aˈ noun ( s) Etymology: Latin ademption , ademptio, from ademptus (past participle of adimere to take away, from ad + imere, from emere to buy, obtain) + ion , io ion more at redeem : revocation or satisfaction of a property… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ADEMPTION — s. f. T. de Jurispr. Révocation d un legs, d une donation. Il est peu usité …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

  • ADEMPTION — n. f. T. de Jurisprudence Révocation d’un legs, d’une donation. Il est peu usité …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)