Donation: what is legacy?

Legacy is an inheritance by will . There are several types of legacies, which have their own features, but also their conditions.

What are the different kinds of legacies?

There are three kinds of legacies:

  1. Universal legacy: it makes it possible to designate one or more beneficiaries of the entire property of the person, who draws up his will . If he designates several people, then they will each benefit up to equal shares of the testator’s assets .
  2. General legacy: it allows to only bequeath a share to someone (1/3 for example) of their assets or a specific category of property (real estate for example).
  3. Individual legacy: it allows to bequeath specific goods, to one or more people.

Legacies to two successive beneficiaries

There are two kinds of specific legacies, which allow gratifying two beneficiaries sequentially:

  • Residual legacy: it allows property or rights to be transferred to a first beneficiary, who can use it freely (except for the possibility of bequeathing the property which is forbidden for the latter, and the possibility of giving the bequeathed property, that can be withdrawn by the testator). On his death, the remains of these goods or rights must be then passed onto a second beneficiary, designated by the author of the donation , in the original act.
  • Gradual legacy: it also allows to pass on goods/rights to a first beneficiary, but the latter will be required to keep this intact, so that it is passed on to the second beneficiary, on his death. He can never dispose of it, in any form.

Legacy with liabilities

A person may decide to bequeath a property or an amount of money, provided that the beneficiary takes on a liability or meets a condition. This type of legacy is only valid if the conditions are neither immoral, unlawful or impossible to comply with.

Example: Armand, single and without a child, decides to leave his second home to his sister, who in turn is responsible for taking care of their mother, right until her death.

Note: there are other types of legacies. For a comprehensive briefing, we encourage you to consult a notary.

Frequently asked questions