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The Dean Law Firm Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The ABCs of Ademption

 

What happens if you are bequeathed a car that no longer exists?  The ABCs of Ademption

If you’re involved in settling a loved one’s estate, you may come across the curious word “ademption”. Ademption describes what happens when something designated in a will no longer exists.  For example, your uncle dies and leaves you in his will an old-school Harley Davidson motorcycle.  However, if your uncle crashed the motorcycle two years before the will was probated and there’s nothing to leave, then that gift would be considered adeemed and you would receive nothing.  This is why certain wills include language that says, “if owned by me at my death.”

However, it is important to realize that certain items cannot be adeemed, such as money.  For example, if your uncle died and left $7,000 for you in his will, but left a zero dollar balance in his accounts, your gift of cash would not be adeemed.  Instead, the estate would be responsible for satisfying that gift, for example, through the sale of the house or other such property.

There are exceptions to ademption, however, so please consult a qualified probate lawyer if you want to learn more about ademption and its exceptions.


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