A gift in a will. A disposition of real property by a person's last will and testament, to take effect after the testator's death.
Its form is immaterial, provided the instrument is to take effect after the death of the party; and a paper in the form of an indenture, which is to have that effect, is considered as a devise.
The term devise, properly and technically, applies only to real estate, so the object of the devise must therefore be that kind of property. Devise is also sometimes improperly applied to a bequest or legacy.
The nature of a devise, when lands are devisable, is that one can devise that his lands shall be sold by executors. A devise in such form has always been in use. So a man may have frank tenement of him who had nothing, in the same manner as one may have fire from a flint, and yet there is no fire in the flint. But it is to perform the last will of the devisor.
A person to whom a devise has been made.
All persons who are in rerum natura, and even embryos, may be devisees, unless excepted by some positive law. In general, he who can acquire property by his labor and industry, may receive a devise.
Many states' living will laws prevent those who have a financial interest in the estate of the declarant (devisees) from being witnesses to a living will.
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