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The termination or failure of a right or privilege because of a neglect to exercise that right or to perform some duty within a time limit, or because a specified contingency did not occur. The expiration of coverage under an insurance policy because of the insured's failure to pay the premium.

The common-law principle that a gift in a will does not take effect but passes into the estate remaining after the payment of debts and particular gifts, if the beneficiary is alive when the will is executed but subsequently predeceases the testator.

In its broadest sense, the term lapse describes the loss of any right or privilege because of the passage of time or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a certain event. It is often used by legislatures in reference to governmental concerns. Legislatures may include anti-lapse provisions in statutes to ensure that certain spending programs remain funded from year to year. Lapse also has distinct significance in the law of insurance contracts and wills.

An insurance policy can lapse, or become void, if the insured fails to make payments on it. All states give insureds a grace period, which allows extra time to make a payment owed under a policy. The grace period varies from policy to policy. For example, in Maine the grace period is seven days for Health Insurance policies with weekly premiums, ten days for such policies with monthly premiums, and thirty-one days for all other such policies (Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24-A, § 2707). The grace period in Maine is thirty days for life insurance policies (§ 2505).

Some statutes on insurance policy lapses provide a small measure of protection against lapse. For example, Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, title 24-A, section 2739 (West 1995), states that no insurance company may cancel a health insurance policy within three months of nonpayment unless the insurer provides the insured with a notice of potential lapse within ten to forty-five days after the premium was due. Section 4751 provides that in the event of a strike by insurance agents, no life or noncancellable health, hospital expense, or hospital and surgical expense insurance policy may lapse owing to nonpayment within thirty days of the strike's inception. This law applies only if the agent is responsible for the collection of premiums and is represented in Collective Bargaining by a labor organization that has been recognized by the state.

A will is a document left by a deceased person, who is called a testator or devisor. A will allocates the property of a testator to living persons. If the intended recipient of a gift in a will (called a beneficiary or devisee) dies before the testator, the gift may lapse. This means that the gift is void and is placed back into the estate of the testator. The property becomes part of the residuum of the estate and may not be disposed of in the manner sought by the testator.

Almost all states have statutes that provide that in the event of a lapse, the gift should go to the issue, or lineal descendants, of the deceased devisee. If the beneficiary has no issue, then the gift is left in the estate of the testator.

In some states the anti-lapse statute applies only to grandparents of the testator and lineal descendants of the testator's grandparents. For example, under the Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, title 18-A, section 2-605 (West 1995), the issue of the deceased devisee may receive a gift intended for the deceased devisee, but only if they survived the testator by 120 hours.


1) v. to fail to occur, particularly a gift made in a will. 2) v. to become non-operative. 3) n. the termination of a gift made by will or for future distribution from a trust, caused by the death of the person to whom the gift was intended (the beneficiary, legatee, devisee) prior to the death of the person making the will or creating the trust (the testator, trustor or settlor). (See: will, trust, beneficiary, legatee, devisee)


(Break), noun fuga, hiatus, interlude, lull, pause, recess
Associated concepts: devise, lapsed, legacy


(Expiration), noun decline, default, delinquency, dereliction, error, error, expiry, failure, inconstancy, lapsus, misdeed, misstep, mistake, negligence, peccatum, regression, relapse, retrogradation, retrogression, secession, shortcoming, slip, termination
Associated concepts: lapsed bequest, lapsed devise, lapsed legacy, lapsed license, lapsed policy


(Cease), verb abate, become forfeit, become void, come to an end, complete, conclude, discontinue, end, expire, pass to another, relinquish, reverti, run out, stop, terminate
Foreign phrases: Accusator post rationabile tempus non est audiendus, nisi se bene de omissione excusaverit.An accuser ought not to be heard after the lapse of a reaaonable time, unless he can account satisfactorily for his delay.


(Fall into error), verb be at fault, commit an error, deviate from the proper path, deviate from virtue, do wrong, err, errare, fail, fall from grace, go astray, go awry, misbehave, misstep, peccare, slip, slip from virtue, stray, transgress, trespass, weaken
See also: abeyance, cease, cessation, cloture, declination, decline, default, degenerate, descent, deteriorate, error, expire, halt, hiatus, interval, misdeed, nonpayment, oversight, pendency, recrudescence, relapse, remission, respite, revert, stop, subside


the termination of some right, interest, or privilege, as by neglecting to exercise it or through failure of some contingency.

LAPSE, eccl. law. The transfer, by forfeiture, of a right or power to present or collate to a vacant benefice, from, a person vested with such right, to another, in consequence of some act of negligence of the former. Ayl. Parerg. 331.

References in periodicals archive ?
There are measures now recommended by the board to further look into this matter so that they can recommend appropriate measures to correct whatever these lapses are,' Padilla said.
The consequences of not having an unintentional lapse feature on a policy could potentially be further compounded by the following two features that are also not required on a chronic illness rider.
One important consideration: Lapses who renew should be treated like new donors.
We show that short-term as well as long-term premium development, along with premium adjustment frequency, affect lapse and tariff switch rates.
A familial clustering of such lapses suggests that they are subject to genetic effects," Dr.
This shock lapse leads to a disproportionate number of relatively healthy lives leaving the risk pool, which results in a disproportionate number of relatively unhealthy lives causing a mortality deterioration to occur--variable No.
Individual Life Persistency Update,' consistent with past studies for permanent insurance products, lapse rates are generally decreasing as issue age increases.
In their work, they presented the definition of university ethics lapses that guided their study, examined the relationship between ethical behavior and professionalism among academics, developed a typology of academic ethical lapses, and discussed this typology via vignettes.
Kennedy Airport was cleared by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agents late Thursday (1 November) due to an apparent lapse in passenger and baggage screening.
As a result, any amount that lapses in excess of this "5 & 5" amount will be deemed a current taxable gift from the powerholder to the beneficiaries of the trust.
They discovered that 32 percent of women given high-dose chemotherapy had cognitive deficits, including memory lapses and difficulty concentrating.
If that law lapses, those tenants are no longer rent stabilized," he explained.