legacy, bequest by will of personal property, similar in many respects to a gift causa mortis. A legacy ordinarily is distinguished from a devise, which transfers real property by will. The person who receives a legacy is called a legatee. Legacies are of various types. A specific legacy bequeaths a designated object, e.g., a named painting. A general legacy is a sum of money to be paid out of any assets of the estate. The residuary legacy is all of the deceased's personal property otherwise undistributed.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.