A Gift Affidavit is a legal document that provides formal proof of the transfer of ownership of property as a gift by one party (Donor) to another party (Donee).
What Is a Gift Affidavit?
A Gift Affidavit is a legal document used to prove that an item was given to someone as a gift. In a Gift Affidavit form, the person giving the gift (known as the “donor“) swears that an item is being gifted to the recipient (known as the “donee“) and that no payment is expected in return.
When the item has significant value or requires a title or deed transfer, the Gift Affidavit clearly:
- States the gifting intention of the gift-giver
- Documents that this process was not a loan or sale
- Declares that the gift-giver exchanged no other valuable object for the item.
Depending on the item, you may have to state that it is a gift for state or federal reasons. It can be for tax, registration, or other purposes.
Types of Gift Deeds
A Gift Deed or Gift Affidavit can be either:
- Revocable – the donor can cancel the gift anytime before giving the gift to the recipient. However, once the donor gives the gift to the donee, the donor will no longer be able to return it.
- Irrevocable – after the donor executes the Gift Deed, they are legally obligated to give the gift to the recipient.
Under an Irrevocable Gift Deed, gifts are not considered a part of your estate. So you can use Irrevocable Gift Deeds to keep certain items and money from being contested in your Last Will and Testament.
When to Use a Gift Affidavit
A Gift Affidavit is needed when a donor voluntarily bestows a valuable item on someone else.
Gift Affidavits prove that the gift was not a loan, and the donor cannot demand its return, payments, or compensation. The affidavit documents that a donor acted voluntarily when giving the item. It is often used when gifting a car or significant money to another person, usually a family member.
Certain life events, such as getting married, can have legal implications on the ownership of your property. For example, if you’ve been gifted an item of significant value while married, you would need a Gift Affidavit to prove it is not joint property. In the event of a divorce, the Gift Affidavit ensures that the property remains with you.
When a car is being transferred from one person to another for no payment, or an amount significantly less than its value, they need a Car Gift Affidavit. Many states require this document for that purpose, although it can go by other names:
You also need to use a Monetary Gift Affidavit as cash gifting proof. If someone challenges the monetary gift and says it was a trust or loan, you can use this document to prove that the money was intended as a gift.
Note that a cash gift can never be used as a down payment to purchase an investment property. Only conventional lenders will allow it to be used as a down payment on a vacation property.
What Should Be Included in a Gift Affidavit?
A Gift Affidavit is a simple, straightforward document. At a minimum, it should include:
- Donor Information and Address. The donor’s identification details, including their address, birth date, and social security number.
- Statement of Gift. A statement is clearly stating that the item is voluntarily given.
- Recipient Information. The recipient identification information. It may include the person’s legal relationship with the donor, but it is not required.
- Gift Description. A description of the gift, what it is worth, and when it is given. You should include the vehicle identification number (VIN) in the gift description if the gift is a motor vehicle.
- Notary Details. The person in charge of administering the affirmations and oaths of the donor.
How to Write a Gift Affidavit
Step 1 – Fill in your basic details
You must include your personal information, such as your:
- Date of Birth
- Telephone Number
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Governing State
Providing this information helps the necessary parties identify you. Federal or state officials mainly use your SSN for tax-related purposes.
Step 2 – Fill in the details of the donor
You must provide the following details of the “donee”, i.e., the person to you’re donating a gift:
Step 3 – Provide details of the gift
Write down the description of the gift and include any other relevant documents. For example, if you’re gifting a car, you should have:
- Its make
- Its model
- The vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Its value
- Title number
- Whether the donor will receive payment, and if so, details of that payment
- Details of any remaining debts attached to the vehicle and if the donee will assume those debts
You should also include the car’s title as an exhibit.
Step 4 – Sign the document
Both the donor and the donee should sign the document.
Step 5 – Notarize the document (optional)
While it is not required that you sign the affidavit in front of a notary, having the affidavit notarized will help verify the authenticity of the affidavit should there be a dispute.
Samples (Word & PDF)
While a general Gift Affidavit can be customized to be used for any item, you may want to download and use one of the specific gift affidavit templates below to save yourself time:
- Affidavit of Gift – Income: Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF
- Affidavit of Gift – Motor vehicle: Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF
- Affidavit of Gift – Real property: Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF
- Affidavit of Gift – Securities: Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF
- Affidavit of Gift – Others: Word (.docx) or Adobe PDF
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Deed of Gift a Legal Document?
Yes, a Deed of Gift is a legal document. This means that gifts are generally irrevocable once they are signed and executed.
Does a Gift Deed Need To Be Notarized?
Yes, a Gift Deed must be notarized. Notarization will verify your identity and that you are giving the gift without being coerced.
Can a Gift Deed Be Canceled?
A donor can cancel a Gift Deed if the gift is considered a “gift causa mortis” or a gift made based on the donor’s contemplation of death. The giver can revoke these gifts at any time. They may also be revoked if the giver no longer believes they will die soon. For example, they can revoke the gift if they escape from the danger under which the gift was made or recover from illness.
Can Someone Gift an Item to a Person on My Behalf?
Yes, someone else can gift items on your behalf. However, if the gift is of significant value, such as a large sum, that person will need Special Power of Attorney for the gift deed. This grants another person the power to perform legal actions on your behalf. Although this is only advised if you trust the person to act in your best interests.