Bequest Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Bequest, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Bequest?

(n) Bequest is the property or asset owned by a person gifted to another person by naming them in the will executed by the owner of such property or asset. A bequest may be a conditional or a non-conditional one depending up on the mode of conveyance of the property or asset

History and Meaning of Bequest

A bequest is a legal term in estate planning and refers to a gift of property or assets that are left to another person or entity through a will. The person who makes the bequest (the testator) typically outlines the details of the bequest in their will, including the assets being gifted, the beneficiaries who will receive the assets, and any conditions that must be met for the bequest to take effect. Bequests can include real estate, money, securities, and personal property.

Bequests have a long history in estate planning, dating back to ancient Roman times when they were referred to as "legacies". Bequests were often used as a means of passing down family property and wealth to future generations or to charitable organizations.

Examples of Bequest

  1. John left his entire estate to his son in his will as a bequest.
  2. Mary made a bequest of $10,000 to her alma mater to establish a scholarship fund.
  3. The museum received a bequest of a valuable art collection from a generous donor.
  4. In his will, Robert bequeathed his antique car collection to his best friend.
  5. Susan's will included a bequest of her family's vacation home to her brother.

Legal Terms Similar to Bequest

  1. Inheritance: Similar to a bequest, an inheritance is a transfer of assets from a deceased person to their heirs.
  2. Devise: A devise is a gift of real estate, such as land or a house, made through a will.
  3. Legacy: A legacy is a gift of personal property, such as jewelry or artwork, made through a will.
  4. Beneficiary: A beneficiary is a person or entity that receives assets or property from a deceased person's estate.
  5. Trust: A trust is a legal arrangement in which a trustee holds and manages assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries, often used in estate planning to transfer assets to beneficiaries outside of a will.