Ademption is a legal doctrine that pertains to estate planning and wills. As an estate planning lawyer in Folsom, it is a doctrine that I occasionally have to advise my clients on so that their assets go to the intended beneficiaries. Adepmption addresses situations where property or assets specifically bequeathed in a person’s will are no longer in the testator’s estate at the time of their death. Ademption can have an impact on the distribution of assets to beneficiaries. 

There are two main types of ademption:

  1. Specific Ademption: This occurs when a specific item of property mentioned in a will is no longer a part of the testator’s estate at the time of their death. This may occur because the property was sold by the testator prior to their death, or it is also possible that the property simply cannot be located. In such cases, the intended beneficiary does not receive the property mentioned in the will. Instead, they may receive nothing or, depending on the circumstances and applicable laws, they might receive a substitute asset of equal value from the estate.

For example, if a will specifies that the testator’s classic car should go to their niece, but the testator sold the car before their death, the niece would typically not receive the car. Instead, she might receive an equivalent amount of cash or another asset from the estate if the will provides for such substitutions. However, whether or not the niece receives anything is highly dependent on the drafting of the will and the laws surrounding the specific property. 

  1. Partial Ademption: Partial ademption occurs when a bequest is partially satisfied, typically due to the sale or loss of the property, and the remaining portion is still included in the estate. In such cases, the beneficiary is entitled to the remaining portion mentioned in the will.

Ademption is a highly fact-specific area of estate law, and its application can vary by jurisdiction and the specific terms of the will. To address ademption and its potential effects on your estate plan, you should consider the following:

  • Periodic Review: It’s important to periodically review and update your will to ensure that your bequests still align with your assets and intentions.
  • Specific Language: When drafting your will, you may use language that explicitly addresses ademption issues, such as provisions for substitute assets or specifying how the situation should be handled if a specific bequest is no longer available.
  • Consult an Attorney: If you have concerns about ademption or any other aspect of your estate plan, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. They can help you draft or revise your will in a way that minimizes the potential for ademption issues and ensures your wishes are carried out effectively.


Ademption can be a complex legal issue, and the best way to address it is through careful planning and professional guidance from an experienced estate planning lawyer in Folsom to minimize any unintended consequences for your beneficiaries. If you have any questions about ademption, please contact Thapar Law at 916-579-0605 or send us a message

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