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DEVISE Definition & Legal Meaning

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Definition & Citations:

A testamentary disposition of land or realty; a gift of real property by the last will and testament of the donor. Scholle v. Scholle, 113 N. Y. 201, 21 N. E. 84;Ferebee v. Procter, 19 N. C. 410; Pratt v. McGhee, 17 S. C. 428; Iu re Fetrow’s Estate, 58 Pa. 427; Jenkins v. Tobin, 31 Ark. 300; In re Dailey’s Estate, 43 Misc. Rep.552, 89 N. Y. Supp. 541.Synonyms. The term “devise” is properly restricted to real property, and is not applicable to testamentary dispositions of personal property, which are properly called”bequests” or “legacies.” But this distinction will not be allowed in law- to defeat the purpose of a testator; and all of these terms may be construed interchangeably or applied indifferently to either real or personal property, if the context shows that such was the intention of the testator. T.ado v. Harvey. 21 N. II. 528; Borgner v. Brown, 133 Ind. 391, 33 N. E. 92; Oothout v. Rogers, 59 Hun, 97, 13 N. Y. Supp. 120; McCorkle v.Sherrill, 41 N. C. 170.Classification. Devises are contingent or vested; that is, after the death of the testator. Contingent, when the vesting of any estate in the devisee is made to depend upon some future event, in which case, if the event never occur, or until it does occur,no estate vests under the devise. But, when the future event is referred to merely to determine the time at which the devisee shall come into the use of the estate, this does not hinder the vesting of the estate at the death of the testator. 1 Jarm. Wills. 20.Devises are also classed as general or */n – cific. A general devise is one which passeslands of the testator without a particular enumeration or description of them ; as, a devise of “all my lands” or “all my other lands.” In a more restricted sense, a general devise is one which grants a parcel of land without the addition of any words to show how great an estate is meant to be given, or without words indicating either a grant in perpetuity or a grant for a limited term; in this case it is construed as granting a life estate. Hitch v. Patten. S Houst. (Del.) 334, 16 Atl. 558, 2 L. R. A. 724. Specific devises are devises of lands particularly specified in the terms of the devise, as opposed to general and residuary devises of land, in which the local or other particular descriptions are not expressed. For example, “I devise my Hendon Hall estate” is a specific devise :but “I devise all my lands,” or, “all other my lands,” is a general devise or a residuary devise. But all devises are (in effect) specific, even residuary devises being so. L. R. 3Ch. 420; Id. lSt>. A conditional devise is one which depends upon the occurrence of some uncertain event, by which it is either to take effect or be defeated. Civ. Code Cal.


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