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A gift of Personal Property, such as money, stock, bonds, or jewelry, owned by a decedent at the time of death which is directed by the provisions of the decedent's will; a legacy.

A bequest is not the same as a devise (a testamentary gift of real property) although the terms are often used interchangeably. When this occurs, a bequest can be a gift of real property if the testator's intention to dispose of real property is clearly demonstrated in the will.

There are different types of bequests. A charitable bequest is a gift intended to serve a religious, educational, political, or general social purpose to benefit mankind, aimed at the community or a particular segment of it. Charitable bequests also reduce the estate taxes that might be owed on the estate left by a decedent.

A demonstrative bequest is a gift of money that must be paid from a particular source, such as a designated bank account or the sale of stock in a designated corporation.

A general bequest is a gift of money or other property that can be paid or taken from the decedent's general assets and not from a specific fund designated by the terms of the will.


n. the gift of personal property under the terms of a will. Bequests are not always outright, but may be "conditional" upon the happening or non-happening of an event (such as marriage), or "executory" in which the gift is contingent upon a future event. Bequest can be of specific assets or of the "residue" (what is left after specific gifts have been made). (See: will, legacy)


noun bequeathal, birthright, demise, devisal, devise, endowment, entail, gift, heirdom, heirloom, heritable, heritage, inheritance, legacy, testamentary disposition, testamentary gift
Associated concepts: bequest by implication, bequest for life, bequest in trust, devise, gift, inheritance
Foreign phrases: Nemo plus commodi haeredi suo relinquit quam ipse habuit.No one leaves a greater advantage for his heir than he himself had.
See also: benefit, contribute, contribution, devolution, donation, dower, endowment, estate, grant, hereditament, heritage, inheritance, legacy, supply


a gift in a will.

BEQUEST. A gift by last will or testament; a legacy. (q. v.) This word is sometimes, though improperly used, as synonymous with devise. There is, however, a distinction between them. A bequest is applied, more properly, to a gift by will of a legacy, that is, of personal property; devise is properly a gift by testament of real property. Vide Devise.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Australia Council is delighted to be managing The Marten and Askin Bequests, and opening up opportunities that support Australian artists to build valuable networks and develop their artistic practice, Mr Grybowski said.
Occasionally, NFPs cease to exist or merge with another organization; a bequest made to one organization can then become the property of another.
Alternately, a bequest can involve large legacies for a spouse, children, grand-children, great-grand-children, charities or others.
Although parents (68 per cent) were significantly more likely than non parents (51 per cent) to consider this type of bequest unimportant, that half of those without children still rated leaving provisions for organisations as unimportant is noteworthy (Table 3).
Ideally, in testamentary transfers, documentation can be made in the trust to help reinforce the intended tax treatment either as a bequest or as compensation to the employee.
As a result, long-term contracts can allow individuals to partially hedge their future preference risk by effectively transferring some wealth from future states where their bequest needs are low to states for which bequest needs are higher.
Residuary Bequest: A charitable organization(s) receives all or a percentage of the remainder of your estate after the payment of any specific bequests and expenses.
Both Carter Bequest and the Guisborough Primary Care Hospital have been earmarked for closure due to their age and condition and "long-term viability".
However, the final stage of the bequest has now been formally completed with the help of the Art Fund, which Sir Denis joined as a schoolboy in 1926.
ATLANTA * Because of a bequest from Joseph Mitchell, the late nephew of celebrated author Margaret Mitchell, the Atlanta archdiocese now owns 50 percent of the literary rights to her Pulitzer prize-winning, best-selling novel Gone With the Wind.
According to the 2010 "Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating," approximately 740,000 Canadians age 15 and older included a bequest in their wills.