Ademption Law and Legal Definition

Ademption is the act of revoking a gift mentioned in a will by destruction, or selling or giving away the gift before death. It is the failure of bequest of property in a will. Ademption may occur when the property given to the beneficiary in a will no longer belongs to the decedent at the time of death. The gift may have been destroyed, sold or given away between the time of the will and the time of death. The gift is adeemed when property mentioned in a will cannot be given to the beneficiary.

The general rule of ademption is that if property constituting a specific bequest or devise is no longer in the decedent's possession at his or death, then neither the asset nor its cash equivalent passes to the beneficiary. The principle of ademption does not apply to general or demonstrative legacies and devises (including all residuary bequests and devises), but only to specific legacies and devises. If a gift under a will can be characterized as something other than a specific bequest or devise, the principle of ademption will not apply.