It is normal for a person to bequeath items of personal or commercial value to an heir. This is usually the case when a will is left and an item is left in the possession of an heir as determined by the terms and conditions of the will. However, when the item to be bequeathed is no longer available, then the terms and conditions of the will cannot be fulfilled. This legal instance refers to ademption.
When ademption happens, it is generally determined that the heir is “unlucky” in not being able to receive whatever was bequeathed to him or her. However, it is possible that whoever was named executor of the estate could compensate for this by honoring the will in some other form or manner.
Ademption usually occurs when the will is old when the testator, the one who wrote the will, dies. Thus, the will is outdated and does not necessarily reflect the current standing or situation of the testator before his or her death.
Several items may be considered under ademption. Property is one such item wherein it can be transformed before the death of the testator. For example, a testator may wish to bequeath an heir with a car as part of his or her will. However, the testator may sell or trade in the car for a new car. This does not automatically mean that the heir is to receive the new car in the event of the testator’s death.
Ademption can also occur by extinction wherein property bequeathed cannot be given because it is gone or no longer under the control of the testator before his or her death.