Lapse Law and Legal Definition

Lapse is the failure of something to become operative. Lapse may refer to the failure to make a gift made in a will or a future distribution from a trust, caused by the death of the person to whom the gift was intended prior to the death of the person making the will or creating the trust. A person due to receive a gift in a will or trust may also become incapable of taking the gift in some way, causing it to lapse. Lapse may occur in a variety of situations in which a right or privilege expires due to a failure to take necessary action within a prescribed time period.

In contract law, an offer generally extends for a reasonable unless a time is specified for acceptance. If acceptance is not made within such a reasonable time, the offer lapses.