What are the important Kinds of legacies?

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(i) General Legacies and specific legacies - Distinction

General Legacies permit the funeral expenses, debts and specific legacies to be paid first. Necessarily, therefore, if the amount (or property) is reduced on account of these expenses for payment of General legacy, then to that extent the General legacy ABATES (reduced) PROPORTIONALITY (Section 127). But the specific legacy does not similarly abate (Section 149). On the contrary, if the property specified to be gifted is not in existence or converted into another form of property, the legacy is adeemed - and the legatee is not entitled to any recompensation for the same.

Section 147 requires the specific property to retain its form, even if it is given to more than one person in succession and even if the property value is likely to be decreased. Whereas on the other hand, as required under Section 148, if bequest is in general to two or more persons in succession and property is of a wasting nature, it must be invested in securities.

In case of specific legacy, the legatee starts receiving income/interest from the property bequeathed from the death of Testator.

Specific legacy takes the bequest subject to all encumbrances and shall be liable to make good the amount of such encumbrances.

(ii) Specific and Demonstrative Legacies - Distinction

When specified property is given, the legacy is called as specific legacy. But when the legacy is directed to be paid from the specified property, it is called as Demonstrative legacy.

Specific legacy means specific property which is distinguished from the entire estate or from all other parts of Testator's property but in demonstrative legacies, specified sum of money from specified funds is directed to be paid. Demonstrative legacy, as a matter fact is a general legacy and hence liable to be proportionately abated but not in the case of specific legacy as a matter of fact, distinction between General legacy and specific legacy will hold good here too. As such, if specific property is not in existence, the legatee gets nothing but in the case of demonstrative legacies, the legatee is entitled to receive his legacy out of general assets of the Testator.

Illustration: A bequest is made to B:

(i) The Diamond ring presented to me by C" or

(ii) "My gold chain"

(iii) A certain "piece of cloth"

(iv) "The debt which B owes to me" - specific legacies.

A bequeaths to B:

(i) Rs. 10,000/ of my funded property.

(ii) Rs. 10,000/ from shares of the East Indian Railway Company.

(iii) Rs. 10,000/ at present secured by mortgage of Rampur factory.

Following are Demonstrative Legacies:

1. "10 bushels of the corn which shall grow in my field of Green Acre."

2. 80 chests of the indigo which shall be made at my factory of Rampur.

3. Rs. 10,000/ out of five per cent promissory notes of the Central Government legacies are demonstrative legacies.


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