Dealing with a loved one's estate can often be challenging, particularly if there is a significant amount of expensive physical property involved. If you are charged with dealing with the estate of a loved one, it is important to be familiar with some of the legal terms you may encounter. One very important term is ademption.
Ademption refers to an object or monetary gift that was left to another person in the will, but that inheritance no longer exists. The following is some additional information on ademption and what, if anything, can be done to fully execute an estate:
Examples of Ademption in a Will
When you read a will and someone leaves an item that is adeemed, that means it can be more difficult to execute a will completely. One example of ademption is when someone leaves a vehicle to another person in his or her will. However, if that vehicle was lost, totaled, repossessed, or is otherwise no longer in existence before probate, it is considered adeemed property.
When Property is Adeemed
If you are left any amount of property that is considered adeemed, you are essentially out of luck with regard to your inheritance. The executor of the will may be able to make arrangements for you to receive something else under the right circumstances, but that is going vary from estate to estate. Unfortunately, if the proper language is used in a will, you are not going to be guaranteed. That is why you will see the words, "if owned by me at death" used in wills. That leaves the estate with an out in the event that property is no longer in existence.
What Cannot be Adeemed in a Will
There are certain things in a will that cannot be considered adeemed. Money is one of the most common examples. If for instance, a loved one left a large sum of money to another person in his or will, but there is no money in any account to speak of, then the person who was to receive the money can be made whole in another way. If there is property or other assets that can be sold by the estate, then the estate would be responsible for providing that inheritance.
When you are left to deal with a will that includes ademptions, it is crucial that you work with an estate planning attorney. There will very likely be some hard feelings on the part of the person who was to receive that property, so it is important that you know what to do moving forward.