antilapse statute - Legal Definition
A statute enacted in most states allowing the heirs of a devisee or legatee who dies before the testator to take the testamentary gift intended for the devisee or legatee. Without the statute, the gift would fail and go to the residuary beneficiary (if any) or to the testator’s intestate heirs. For example, without the statute, a bequest to a son who dies before his father would lapse, and the grandchildren could receive nothing, but with it, the grandchildren would receive the gift that would have gone to the son. Often, these statutes apply only to the heirs of the testator’s relatives who are named as devises and legatees in the testamentary document. See also lapse.