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Ademption refers to the destruction or extinction of a testamentary gift because the bequeathed assets no longer belong to the testator at the time of their death. This occurs when the property that was the subject of a specific bequest is sold, destroyed, given away, or no longer exists at the time of the testator's death. This is also termed ademption by extinction.

Ademption should not be confused with ademption by satisfaction, which occurs when the testator has given property to a beneficiary in lieu of a testamentary gift while they are alive.

To avoid confusion about what may or may not be adeemed, the phrase "if owned by me at my death" is sometimes included in the terms of a bequest of property in a will.

[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]