Definition: Ademption

Ademption is one way that a specific gift in a will can fail. Ademption occurs when the testator dies at a time when he or she is no longer the owner of the asset to be given. When a gift fails by ademption, the beneficiary will not receive the gift and is not entitled to receive anything in place of the gift.

For example, if Robert writes into his will that he gives his antique rifle to his daughter, later sells the rifle to someone else for $1,000, and dies when he no longer owns the rifle, the gift of the rifle to his daughter will fail by ademption. The daughter would not get the rifle, nor would she get the $1,000 Robert received for the rifle.