Elements of Proof for a Gift

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What is the Legal Definition of a Gift?

In a legal sense, the term “gift” refers to a definite, voluntary transfer of property from to another.  The transfer must be made without any consideration (that is, without an expectation of receiving compensation in return).  A person or party who makes a gift is called a “donor”, while the one receiving the gift is called the “donee”. 

Transfers that qualify as a gift are a usually exempt from various tax laws.  Gifts can usually be made to persons or to qualified entities like a registered charity.  Generally speaking, there are three types of ways that a gift can be transferred:

What are the Elements of Proof for a Gift?

Not all transfers of property qualify as a gift.  The term “gift” has legal significance and only transfers that meet all the elements of proof will be classified as a gift.  Though laws may vary by region, in general the elements of proof for a gift are:

Thus, transfers that don’t satisfy these requirements won’t be classified as a gift.  For example, the “donor” might not have intended to make the transfer a gift if they had asked for payment in return.  As such, the donor might not be allowed to claim tax exemptions that cover gifts. 

What can be Transferred as a Gift?

Basically any form of property can be transferred as a gift, as well as various types of assets.  These include:

As a final note, services are generally not considered to be property, and therefore can’t be the subject of a gift transfer. 

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Gift?

Transferring a gift can sometimes be a very formal undertaking, especially for property that is worth large amounts.  If you need assistance with a gift, or have any questions, you may wish to contact a lawyer in your area.  Also, disputes can sometimes arise over gifts, so it might be necessary to hire a lawyer if you need to file a lawsuit.

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Last Modified: 02-13-2012 03:40 PM PST

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