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Bar News - July 15, 2011

Morning Mail: On Virtues of Precise Language

[Regarding article on language in the June 17 issue of Bar News,] The author should not treat the two words "bequeath" and "devise" as having the same meaning. Even according to the modern Black’s Law Dictionary, "bequeath" is to give personal property by will to another. It is therefore distinguishable from "devise", which is properly applied to realty. "Devise" involves a testamentary disposition of land to realty. Therefore, a lawyer who uses "bequeath" and "devise" is not being loquacious, but cautious.

Peter V. Millham

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