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Definition: Bequests are the transfers of wealth that occur upon a donor's death and that include transers by means of a will or a trust. Bequests can take several forms such as:
  • Specific bequest - a certain amount of cash, securities, or property.
  • General bequest - property that is similar to all other items distributed, usually cash.
  • Percentage bequest - a stated percentage of the donor's estate.
  • Residual bequest - all or a portion of what remains of the estate after specific and general bequests are distributed.

Besides a straight bequest, you can also set up a trust that will benefit charitable organizations during or after your lifetime (see charitable remainder trust and charitable lead trust). Another way to leave money is to name one or more nonprofits as beneficiaries of an insurance policy or as the recipient of your IRA or retirement fund.

Also Known As: Planned Gift
The donor designated that 35 percent of his gross estate be given to the Humane Society.
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