Alaska Gift Deed
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Gift Deed for Real Estate Located in Alaska
Gifts of Real Property in Alaska
Gift deeds convey title to real property from one party (the grantor or donor) to another (the grantee or donee) with no exchange of consideration, monetary or otherwise. Often used to transfer property between family members or to gift property as a charitable act or donation, these conveyances occur during the grantor's lifetime. It is important that a gift deed contain language that explicitly states that no consideration is expected or required. Ambiguous language, or references to any type of consideration, can make the gift deed contestable in court.
In Alaska, no covenants are implied in a conveyance of real property, even if the conveyance contains special covenants (AS 34-15-080). Any guarantees must meet statutory language as prescribed by AS 35-15-030.
A lawful gift deed includes the grantor's full name and marital status, as well as the grantee's full name, marital status, vesting, and mailing address. Vesting describes how the grantee holds title to the property. Generally, real property is owned in either sole ownership or in co-ownership. For Alaska residential property, the primary methods for holding title in co-ownership are tenancy in common and tenancy by entirety. A conveyance of real estate to two or more persons creates a tenancy in common (AS 34.15.110(a)). Tenancy by the entirety is only available to married couples and is the presumed vesting unless otherwise stated (AS 34.15.110(b)). When real estate is held as tenants by entirety, upon the death of either spouse, the survivor automatically obtains title to the share of the deceased spouse, free and clear of the claims of heirs and creditors of the deceased spouse.
As with any conveyance of realty, a gift deed requires a complete legal description of the parcel. In Alaska, at minimum, the legal description should include the section, township, range, and meridian designation, or (for subdivided property) the lot, block, and subdivision name or plat number of the parcel. Recite the source of title to establish a clear chain of title, and detail any restrictions associated with the property. The document must be signed and acknowledged by the grantor in the presence of two credible witnesses, one of which can be the notary (AS 34-15-210). Submit the deed, along with any additional materials, to the recorder's office of the recording district where the property is located. Contact the same office to verify accepted forms of payment.
With gifts of real property, the recipient of the gift (grantee) is not required to declare the amount of the gift as income, but if the property accrues income after the transaction, the grantee is responsible for paying the requisite state and federal income tax.
In Alaska, there is no state gift tax, but the gift remains subject to federal taxation. The person or entity making the gift (grantor) is responsible for paying this tax; however, if the donor does not pay the gift tax, the donee will be held liable.
In accordance with federal law, individuals are permitted an annual exclusion of $15,000 on gifts. This means that, if a gift is valued below $15,000, a federal gift tax return (Form 709) does not need to be filed. However, if the gift is something that could possibly be disputed by the IRS -- such as real property -- a donor may benefit from filing a Form 709.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Contact an Alaska lawyer with any questions about gift deeds or other issues related to the transfer of real property.