There are a number of complexities that can be inherent with the estate planning process. One would think, however, that remembering exactly what properties and assets comprise one’s estate in Wakefield might not be one of them. Yet people often draft their wills several years prior to their deaths. During the time between the writing of the will and a testator’s passing, properties that were included as part of an estate can change hands, thus causing them to fall out of a will’s purview.
According to the Cornell Law School, this is known as ademption. Oftentimes it is associated with smaller assets whose change of ownership may simply be overlooked. For example, one might stipulate that a piece of artwork is to go to a beneficiary in their will, yet later on, that artwork is donated to a museum or charitable organization. Given that it is no longer part of the estate, the intended beneficiary has no claim to it.
Oftentimes, larger properties (such as real estate) may fall out of possession of an estate to satisfy the estate’s debts. This may occur if a vacation home or plot of land is seized by a creditor in order to satisfy an outstanding claim. Again, if it is no longer considered part of the estate, it cannot be transferred to a beneficiary.
There can instances where a property is no longer part of estate because it was already given away to the beneficiary by the testator. Per Section 6-209 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, the gifting of the property is considered satisfied if the testator or the beneficiary (or devisee, in this case) states that is so or acknowledges that the value of the gifted property is to be deducted from any other devices gifted to the beneficiary.