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Legal Gifts

( Originally Published 1918 )

Definition.—A gift is the voluntary and gratuitous transfer or conveyance of the right and possession of property by one person to another.

Names of Parties. The giver of the property is called the donor, the receiver the donee.

Who May Make a Gift.—Any person competent to transact ordinary business may give what-ever he owns to any other person.

Delivery to the donee is essential to a gift, and there must also be actual acceptance. It must be an actual delivery, so far as the subject is capable of delivery. If the thing be not capable of actual delivery, there must be some act equivalent to it; something sufficient to work an immediate change in the control of the property. In the absence of proof to the contrary the law presumes acceptance when the gift is manifestly for the benefit of the donor.

Looked Upon with Suspicion.—The law generally looks with some degree of suspicion upon gifts, and they are usually considered to be fraudulent if creditors or others become sufferers thereby.

Retracting.—Where a gift has been executed by delivery of possession, it is not in the donor's power to retract it; but so long as the gift has not been completed by delivery of possession, it is not properly a gift, but a contract, and this a person cannot be compelled to perform but upon good and sufficient consideration.

A Gift Made in Prospect of Death may be revoked by the donor at any time during his life, though it be completed and executed by delivery and acceptance. [See paragraph under head of "Deeds of Trust."]

A Gift May Be Annulled by the creditors of the donor, if he was insolvent at the time of the gift and it diminished the creditor's fund.

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