In law, gifts made by will for the welfare of the community or of an indefinite part of it, and so contrasting with what is left to private individuals; thus schools, orphanages, hospitals, churches, and libraries may be the recipients of charitable bequests.
Technically a bequest is a gift of personal property, a gift of realty being termed a devise, yet as this distinction is often unknown to ordinary persons the courts include realty also under the term bequest if such is clearly the testator's intention.
In Ireland, Canada, and some of the United States bequests for Masses for the dead have been sustained as charitable, but in England until quite recently they were held to be void in law as being for so-called superstitious uses.
It is important that the makers of charitable bequests should ascertain the legal title of the institution to which the bequest is to be made.
New Catholic Dictionary