Failure of gifts—ademption

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Failure of gifts—ademption
  • Classification of legacies
  • The doctrine of ademption
  • Change
  • Change in name and form only
  • Particular examples of ademption from case law
  • Testator's intention
  • Republishing the Will
  • Change in nature of property
  • Construction
  • More...

Failure of gifts—ademption

When applying the doctrines of ademption and abatement, a distinction is drawn between specific, general and demonstrative legacies.

Classification of legacies

The different types of legacies were explained in Walford v Walford as follows:

'Legacies are of three kinds: there is the specific legacy which is a specific res secured under the testator's Will on his death; and, of course it does not abate if the rest of the assets are insufficient for the payment of general legacies; but it has this disadvantage, that if the particular res which is the subject of the specific legacy disappears in the meantime then the legatee gets nothing. The class of legacy at the other extreme is a general legacy which comes out of the residence and which abates if the residue is insufficient, but which prima facie, under a rule of administration of the court, carries interest as from a year after the testator's death. There is an intermediate class of legacy, namely a demonstrative legacy, which is simply a general legacy, with the quality attached to it that it is directed to be paid out of a specific fund, and, if there is a shortage of assets and that fund remains, is paid out of that fund without abating. On the other hand if the fund does disappear, then it has this advantage over a specific

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