Tuesday, March 17, 2015


(a) Property a testator gave in his [or her] lifetime to a person is treated as a satisfaction of a devise in whole or in part, only if (i) the will provides for deduction of the gift, (ii) the testator declared in a contemporaneous writing that the gift is in satisfaction of the devise or that its value is to be deducted from the value of the devise, or (iii) the devisee acknowledged in writing that the gift is in satisfaction of the devise or that its value is to be deducted from the value of the devise.
(b) For purposes of partial satisfaction, property given during lifetime is valued as of the time the devisee came into possession or enjoyment of the property or at the testator’s death, whichever occurs first.
(c) If the devisee fails to survive the testator, the gift is treated as a full or partial satisfaction of the devise, as appropriate, in applying Sections 2-603 and 2-604, unless the testator’s contemporaneous writing provides otherwise.
Scope and Purpose of Revisions. In addition to minor stylistic changes, this section is revised to delete the requirement that the gift in satisfaction of a devise be made to the devisee. The purpose is to allow the testator to satisfy a devise to A by making a gift to B. Consider why this might be desirable. G’s will made a $20,000 devise to his child, A. G was a widower. Shortly before his death, G in consultation with his lawyer decided to take advantage of the $10,000 annual gift tax exclusion and sent a check for $10,000 to A and another check for $10,000 to A’s spouse, B. The checks were accompanied by a letter from G explaining that the gifts were made for tax purposes and were in lieu of the $20,000 devise to A. The removal of the phrase “to that person” from the statute allows the $20,000 devise to be fully satisfied by the gifts to A and B.

This section parallels Section 2-109 on advancements and follows the same policy of requiring written evidence that lifetime gifts are to be taken into account in the distribution of an estate, whether testate or intestate. Although courts traditionally call this “ademption by satisfaction” when a will is involved, and “advancement” when the estate is intestate, the difference in terminology is not significant.
Some wills expressly provide for lifetime advances by a hotchpot clause. Where the will contains no such clause, this section requires either the testator to declare in writing that the gift is in satisfaction of the devise or its value is to be deducted from the value of the devise or the devisee to acknowledge the same in writing.
To be a gift in satisfaction, the gift need not be an outright gift; it can be in the form of a will substitute, such as designating the devisee as the beneficiary of the testator’s life-insurance policy or the beneficiary of the remainder interest in a revocable inter-vivos trust.
Subsection (b) on value accords with Section 2-109 and applies if, for example, property such as stock is given. If the devise is specific, a gift of the specific property to the devisee during lifetime adeems the devise by extinction rather than by satisfaction, and this section would be inapplicable. Unlike the common law of satisfaction, however, specific devises are not excluded from the rule of this section. If, for example, the testator makes a devise of a specific item of property, and subsequently makes a gift of cash or other property to the devisee, accompanied by the requisite written intent that the gift satisfies the devise, the devise is satisfied under this section even if the subject of the specific devise is still in the testator’s estate at death (and hence would not be adeemed under the doctrine of ademption by extinction).
Under subsection (c), if a devisee to whom a gift in satisfaction is made predeceases the testator and his or her descendants take under Section 2-603 or 2-604, they take the same devise as their ancestor would have taken had the ancestor survived the testator; if the devise is reduced by reason of this section as to the ancestor, it is automatically reduced as to the devisee’s descendants. In this respect, the rule in testacy differs from that in intestacy; see Section 2- 109(c). 

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