Legacy Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Legacy?

(n) Legacy is the gift of money made to a person by a will executed by a deceased person. Though the term devise is used to represent gift of property, Legacy is also used to refer property gifted.

History and Meaning of Legacy

Legacy refers to the gift of money or property given to a person through the execution of a will by a deceased person. The term is commonly used in estate planning and probate law to refer to an inheritance received by someone who was named as a beneficiary in a will. A legacy can take various forms such as a specific dollar amount, a percentage of an estate or a particular piece of property.

The concept of legacy has ancient origins and has been a part of society for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, wills were used to transfer property from one generation to another. The wills included provisions for legacies, which enabled people to leave gifts to their friends and loved ones. This practice continued throughout the middle ages and has been an integral part of the common law system.

Examples of Legacy

  1. Susan received a $10,000 legacy from her grandfather's estate.

  2. The estate planning attorney advised the client to create a legacy for his favorite charity in his will.

  3. The executor of the estate distributed the legacies to the beneficiaries named in the decedent's will.

  4. The deceased's will named his wife as the sole beneficiary of his entire estate, including any legacies.

Legal Terms Similar to Legacy

  1. Devise - Refers to the gift of property through the execution of a will.

  2. Bequest - A gift made through a will, which can include personal property, real estate or financial assets.

  3. Inheritance - The transfer of property and assets from a deceased person to their beneficiaries through a will or by law.