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Bequest vs. Request: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 2, 2023
A bequest is a legacy left in a will, while a request is the act of politely or formally asking for something.

Key Differences

A bequest is a disposition in a will of personal property. A request is the act of asking for something, often favorably or courteously. While a bequest is typically made at the end of one’s life, a request can be made at any time.
The nature of a bequest is testamentary, meaning it is an element of estate planning. Requests are communicative, forming a part of everyday interactions. Bequests are executed by an executor, while requests are directed at anyone who can fulfill them.
A bequest is legally binding when properly documented in a will. In contrast, a request is not legally binding; it relies on the willingness of the other party. Bequests transfer ownership posthumously, whereas requests imply immediate action or response.
The term bequest is narrowly applied to the legal context of wills and inheritance. The term request has a broad application, extending from casual to formal situations. Bequests are specific to the transfer of property, requests are about seeking various types of assistance or information.
A bequest can be conditional, dependent on certain terms within a will. A request can also be conditional, but it is based on the terms set by the asker. Both bequest and request entail a giver and a receiver, but under very different circumstances.

Comparison Chart


Legacy left in a will.
Act of asking for something.

Legal Status

Legally binding (when documented in a will).
Not legally binding.


Takes effect after death.
Can be made anytime and expects an immediate response.


Strictly legal and posthumous.
Ranges from informal to formal situations.


Transfer of property or assets.
Seeking assistance, information, or permission.

Bequest and Request Definitions


A legacy left to a person or organization in a will.
The museum was enriched by a bequest of paintings from the late collector.


An expression of a desire for something.
Her request for a window seat was fulfilled by the airline.


An act of giving or leaving personal property by will.
His last will contained a bequest to his alma mater.


The act of asking for something to be given or done.
He submitted a request for additional funding for the project.


A gift of personal property by will.
Her bequest to her children included her jewelry and family heirlooms.


A formal solicitation or appeal.
The invitation to speak was an unexpected request from the committee.


Something that is bequeathed or handed down.
The antique clock was a bequest from her grandfather.


To politely or formally ask for something.
They made a request to delay the deadline by two weeks.


A transfer of wealth to another upon the testator's death.
The bequest was challenged in court by family members.


A call to someone to attend or participate.
The artist was flattered by the request to exhibit his work.


(Law) The act of giving or leaving personal property by a will.


To express a desire for, especially politely; ask for. Often used with an infinitive or clause
Requested information about the experiment.
Requested to see the evidence firsthand.
Requested that the bus driver stop at the next corner.


Something that is bequeathed; a legacy.


To ask (a person) to do something
The police requested her to accompany them.


Is a bequest taxable?

It can be, depending on the jurisdiction and the size of the estate.

Can a request be made after someone's death?

Typically, no. Requests are made to living persons or organizations.

What is a bequest in a will?

A bequest is a gift left to a person or entity in someone's will.

Are bequests public record?

Once the will is probated, yes, bequests become public record.

What’s an unreasonable request?

A demand that is excessive, inappropriate, or impossible to fulfill.

Does a bequest have to be money?

No, a bequest can be any personal property, not just money.

How do you make a formal request?

By clearly stating your need or desire, often in writing.

Who can make a request?

Anyone can make a request of another person or organization.

What is a residuary bequest?

It's a gift of all the remaining estate after other bequests are made.

Can a bequest be challenged?

Yes, by heirs or other parties through a legal process.

How is a bequest fulfilled?

Through the execution of the will by the estate's executor.

Who receives a bequest?

The named beneficiary in the will.

How do you respond to a request?

You can either agree, deny, or negotiate the terms of the request.

Can bequests be made to charity?

Yes, it's common to leave charitable bequests.

What is the tone of a request?

It should be courteous and respectful.

Can a request be withdrawn?

Yes, before it is fulfilled, a request can be retracted.

Is a request legally binding?

No, it’s not unless it forms a part of a legal contract.

Must a bequest be specific?

Yes, it should clearly describe what is being bequeathed.

What’s the proper way to make a request?

Politely and clearly, providing all necessary information.

Can a request be denied?

Yes, the party asked can decline a request.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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