If you’re involved in settling a loved one’s estate, you may come across the term: Lapsed Legacy. This describes what happens when something designated in a will no longer exists. Say, for example, your uncle dies and leaves for you in his will an old 1963 Mustang. However, if your uncle crashed the car two years before the will was probated and there’s nothing to leave, then that gift would be considered lapsed and you would receive nothing. This is why certain wills include language that says, “if owned by me at my death.”
However, it is important to realize that for certain items it is harder to have them be lapsed. For instance, money. If your uncle died and left $7,000 for you in his will, but left a zero dollar balance in his accounts, your gift of cash would not be lapsed. Instead, the estate would be responsible for satisfying that gift, say for example, through the sale of the house or other such property.
There are exceptions to the concept of a lapsed legacy, and those exceptions are usually spelled out in a well crafted will. So please consult a qualified probate lawyer if you want to learn more about lapsed legacies and its exceptions.
Many & LoCoco