DEFINITION of 'Bequest'

The act of giving personal property or money such as stocks, bonds, jewelry and cash left to an individual or organization through the provisions of a will or estate plan. Bequests can be made to family, friends, institutions or charities. When real estate is left through a will, it is correctly called a "devise."


If estate taxes are a concern, individuals may opt to bequest assets to heirs indirectly through a gift in trust. Charitable gifts after death can also reduce estate taxes. When a bequest is left to a charity, it may be called a legacy gift. Such bequests can be important sources of fundraising for nonprofit organizations. When the bequest is intended for a specific purpose, it is called an endowment. Bequests to charity can be made directly, or indirectly through charitable trusts.

  1. Estate Planning

    The collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual's ...
  2. Beneficiary

    Anybody who gains an advantage and/or profits from something. ...
  3. Asset

    1. A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation ...
  4. Will

    A legally enforceable declaration of how a person wishes his ...
  5. Heir

    HeirA person who inherits some or all of the estate of another ...
  6. Escheat

    The transfer of title of property or an estate to the state when ...
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