Difference Between Bequest and Devise

By: | Updated: Oct-16, 2022
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Bequest and devise are two different legal concepts. A bequest is the gift or grant of property to a person upon his or her death. In contrast, a device is the right of an individual to dispose of the property as he or she pleases at his or her own will.

The rules governing these types of wills are not the same as those governing a regular will, and this can be confusing when a family is faced with the task of drafting a will for one of their loved ones.

Summary Table

Bequest Devise
Refers to a gift by will of real property Refers to a gift by will of personal property that is not real property
The beneficiary is called a devisee The beneficiary is called a legatee

Difference Between Bequest and Devise

Definitions

A bequest is a legal document that transfers title to property from one person to another after that person’s death.

It can be done in several ways, including a testamentary instrument (a will), which contains specific language regarding the disposition of the decedent’s assets; by deed, which also conveys title; by operation of law; and by trust, which gives property to another person in trust for the benefit of a beneficiary.

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A bequest can be irrevocable or revocable at any time before it becomes effective, depending on its form and type.

A device is a gift of property that a person makes to another person or persons for life or a specified period.

This type of gift can be given in any of the following ways: by deed, which transfers title to the property; by will, which is the most common way of giving property; and by trust, which is often used to pass real estate.

Difference Between Bequest and Devise

The main difference between a bequest and a device is the nature of the assets that are transferred. In a bequest, the decedent’s assets pass to another person after his or her death.

In contrast, in a device, the person who receives the assets has them in trust for someone else for life or a specified period. Bequests can be irrevocable, revocable at any time before they become effective, or revocable after they become effective.

A device can only be revocable at any time before it becomes effective or irrevocable after it becomes effective.

Deeds and wills are both instruments of the transfer of property. They differ primarily in their form and manner of execution. The most common form is the will, which is written out by an individual who intends to leave property to another person(s) in his or her will.

A will must contain specific language that designates how property is to be transferred (for example, by giving it outright to someone else).

A deed transfers ownership of real estate through one instrument (the deed itself) and not necessarily through a separate instrument (the will). It is written out by an individual who wishes to transfer ownership of the real estate.

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