The term “ademption” refers to the extinction or withdrawal of a legacy because, by the time of the testator’s death, the money or property needed to satisfy the legacy has been destroyed, disposed of, or already given to the legatee.  See Estate of Goodfellow,166 Cal. 409, 415 (1913) (“Ademption of a specific legacy is the extinction or withdrawal of a legacy in consequence of some act of the testator equivalent to its revocation, or clearly indicative of an intention to revoke. The ademption is effected by the extinction of the thing or fund bequeathed, or by a disposition of it subsequent to the will which prevents its passing by the will, from which an intention that the legacy should fail is presumed.”); Cooper’s Estate, 95 N.J. Eq. 210, 213 (“‘A legacy which is specific is adeemed when the particular thing given is wholly lost or destroyed; or is disposed of by the testator during his life; or is so altered by him in its form as to indicate a change of testamentary purpose on his part, an intentional partial revocation of his will.”)

A change in the form of property subject to a specific testamentary gift will not effect an ademption in the absence of proof that the testator intended that the gift fail.  For instance, when the guardian of a mentally incompetent testator has sold property subject to a specific gift in his ward’s will, there is no ademption and the beneficiary is awarded the proceeds of the sale.  See Estate of Mason, 62 Cal. 2d 213, 216 (“The reasons for refusing to find an ademption upon the guardian’s sale are: (1) The incompetent testator lacks intent to adeem and the opportunity to avoid the effect of an ademption by making a new will [and] (2) A contrary rule would allow the guardian, bychanging the form of guardianship property, to determine the distribution of the estate.”)

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