Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Devise Definition:

The transfer or conveyance of property by will, usually in reference to real property.

Related Terms: Legatee, Dower

The transfer or gift of real property by will.

It differs from its counterpart bequeath or legacy as the latter terms refer to the similar gifting of a chattel or an item of personal property.

With time, the distinction between devise and bequeath, bequest or legacy has been blurred with the propensity of testators or their drafting lawyers to use the words interchangeably to the point where a Court asked to interpret a confusing will may ignore the word if the testator's intentions were clear as to the item of property, even if in error, the word devise was used for chattels or bequeath/legacy for the gifting of what is in fact real property.

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