Gift according to Black’s Law Dictionary is a voluntary transfer of property to another without compensation. Deed of Gift, therefore, is a legal document that evidences a voluntary transfer of property (legal ownership) from one party (the donor) to another (the donee) without consideration. There are 3 elements in a valid gift; Donative intent, acceptance, and delivery. In a valid will, there must be no element of fraud (either by any of the parties), cohesion, or unfair influence.
A Deed of Gift once delivered to the Donee is irrevocable i.e it can not be changed or reversed except the donor does not have the legal capacity to grant the gift; the gift was given under duress, misrepresentation or mistake surrounding the circumstances; and the gift was transferred with an intention to evade tax or breach the law.
Both Deed of Gift and Wills are closely related because they are both about the transfer of property without consideration. Both Wills and Deed of Gift must be void of every form of fraud or discrepancies. As at the time of executing both Wills and Deed of Gift, the settlor or testator must be of sound mind, own the property (subject matter of the transfer) and The Deed of Gift comes into effect immediately the deed is delivered to the Donee, during the lifetime of the donor unlike Wills and Codicil that only take effect after the death of the testator. Deed of Gift is also rarely a subject of litigation unlike Wills and Codicil because the beneficiary of the gift must have taken delivery of the gift during the lifetime of the donor without any inherence.
Read Also: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CODICIL.
Also, Deed of Gift is a registerable instrument on its own, while a beneficiary under will must obtain assent before registering the property in his or her name. Deed of gift must be executed by the donor and the donee while Wills need not be executed by the beneficiary.
Deed of gift is not revocable, once it is done, the donor cannot turn around and change his mind on the gift. However, a will can be revoked or amended with another codicil.
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