Difference Between Bequest and Bequeath

By: | Updated: Oct-16, 2022
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Bequest and bequeath are two similar yet distinct words. They are used in the same context but with different meanings. A bequest is a noun and bequeath is a verb.

These words are used in both legal and colloquial language. They have similar meanings and usage but have some differences between them as well.

Summary Table

Bequest Bequeath
Can work as a verb and noun A verb
Means to something given by will Means to give something as a bequest

Difference Between Bequest and Bequeath


A bequest is a noun that means the transfer of property by one person to another by way of leaving it for him/her or it. The property that is left for another by way of a bequest is called a legatee.

To receive the property from the legatee, the beneficiary must file an affidavit of acceptance before he/she may inherit the property.

Bequeath is giving away or leaving something to someone. It is not clear whether the word bequeath or testamentary should be used when referring to the estate planning aspect of a will.

However, numerous court decisions use both terms. It is suggested that the will must contain some language regarding property ownership and distribution if the term testamentary is used.

Generally, wills are divided into two parts: those made in favor of a spouse and those made in favor of others. The term “bequest” may be used in either case. If a will does not mention a beneficiary and does not leave anything for anyone else, it is considered an “intestate” will.

Difference Between Bequest and Bequeath

In both cases, there are no differences but in a legal context, bequeath is followed by nouns, while bequest can be preceded by a verb. Both terms are used in English to describe the process of transferring an inheritance to another person or entity.

You can also use either one at a time or together depending on the context of your sentence. They are commonly used with words like legacy, succession, legacy, succession, inheritance, and heritage.

They can also be used with nouns like assets and wealth, with verbs like distribute and distribute, and nouns such as assets and wealth.

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