ANTILAPSE STATUTE

antilapse statute. Wills & estates. A statute that substitutes certain heirs of some types of testamentary benefi-ciaries when the beneficiary has predeceased the testator and permits them to take the gift, which would otherwise fail and thus pass to the residuary beneficiary (if any) or to the intestate heirs. • Under the common law and the laws of all states, a testamentary beneficiary must survive a testator or else the gift is said to lapse. Although most states have enacted antilapse statutes, their terms vary from state to state. — Also termed lapse statute; nonlapse statute. [Cases: Wills 774–777. C.J.S. Wills §§ 1791–1808.]