Ademption and solicitors negligence

Ademption and solicitors negligence cases

We offer free case assessments of ademption and solicitors negligence claims. Simply call 0808 139 1591 or email us at [email protected]

The doctrine of ademption applies when a specific gift in a will fails because the person who made the will no longer owns that particular asset at the date of their death. In simple terms the gift cannot take effect because the specific property, having been disposed of, no longer forms part of their estate.

Lets look at how this works in practice. Bob makes a will leaving his house, 36 Acacia Drive, to his children, with the residue of his estate passing to charity. However, after making the will Bob decides to sell 36 Acacia Drive and buy another property, 2 Railway Cuttings. Bob passes away a year later without changing his will. Unfortunately for Bob’s children, they inherit nothing from his estate. As a result of ademption the gift of 36 Acacia Drive fails because Bob did not own it at the time of his death. His new property, 2 Railway Cuttings, forms part of his residuary estate which goes to charity.

The principle of ademption means that will drafters need to be very careful when they are preparing a will, particularly where specific gifts are concerned. It is for this reason that many solicitors advise against including specific gifts of valauble assets. Where someone insists on leaving a particular property to a beneficiary the solicitor will often insert the words, ‘or any other property I own at the date of my death’. This wording will ensure that if a named property is sold and another purchased then the beneficiary will receive the new property.

So, if Bob’s will had referred to ’36 Acacia Drive or any other property I own at the date of my death’, then his children would have inherited 2 Ralilway Cuttings.

When these issues arise, beneficiaries understandably feel agrieved to have lost out on their inheritance. But what can they do about it?

One option is to consider whether they are entitled to make a claim under the Inheritance Act. If Bob’s children can demonstrate that they have financial needs then they may be able to apply to the court for financial provision. We have a team of inheritance lawyers who can review potential claims, so if you find yourself in this position and would like to know if you have a claim then get in touch.

Another option is to look at ademption and solicitors negligence. Has the solicitor who drafted the will made an error? Should the solicitor have anticipated the possibility of Bob buying a new property and advised him to word the will differently?  Solicitors owe a duty of care to beneficiaries and if a beneficiary loses out as a result of negligence then a claim can be made for compensation.

If you find yourself in this position and want to know where you stand on ademption and solicitors negligence then contact our free legal helpline for a free case assessment and details of no win, no fee funding. Call us on 0808 139 1591 or send brief details of your case to us at [email protected]

Ademption and solicitors negligence