Gift Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Gift, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Gift?

(n) Gift is the volunteer and irrevocable transfer of a property or article without any monitory consideration, to a person or entity out of natural love and affection towards such transferee

History and Meaning of Gift

The concept of a gift has been around since the beginning of human civilization, with records of gift-giving dating back to ancient times. In legal terms, a gift is a transfer of property or an article from one person to another without any monetary compensation. The act of giving a gift is typically driven by natural love and affection towards the recipient, though it can also be given for other reasons such as gratitude, friendship or generosity.

In the legal context, a gift is seen as a voluntary and irrevocable transfer of ownership from the giver to the recipient. This means that once the gift has been given, the giver cannot take it back or change their mind about the transfer. This is an important distinction from a sale, where the buyer acquires ownership of the property or article in exchange for a monetary payment.

Examples of Gift

  1. A mother gives her daughter a piece of jewelry on her 18th birthday as a token of her love and affection.
  2. A wealthy benefactor donates a large sum of money to a university to fund a new building project.
  3. A couple gives a wedding gift to a friend as a token of congratulations and best wishes for their marriage.
  4. An artist gives a painting to a museum as a gift, so that it may be displayed for the public to see.
  5. A person leaves their estate to a charity as a gift in their will.

Legal Terms Similar to Gift

  1. Donation: Similar to a gift, a donation is a transfer of property or funds from one party to another without any compensation or expectation of compensation.
  2. Grant: A grant is a gift of property or rights made by a governmental entity or authority, usually for a specific public purpose.
  3. Bequest: A bequest is a gift of property made in a person's will, which takes effect upon their death.