Gifts of Real Property in Delaware
Gift deeds convey title to real property from one party to another 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. Gift deeds must 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.
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 co-ownership. For Delaware residential property, the primary methods for holding title are tenancy in common and joint tenancy. An estate conveyed to two or more people is presumed a tenancy in common, unless a joint tenancy is specified (25 Del. C. 701).
As with any conveyance of realty, a gift deed requires a complete legal description of the parcel. Recite the source of title to maintain a clear chain of title, and detail any restrictions associated with the property. Each grantor must sign the deed in the presence of a notary public for a valid transfer. All signatures must be original.
In Delaware, all conveyances of real property require a completed Realty Transfer Tax Return and Affidavit of Gain and Value (9 Del. C. 9605(d)). This form must be completed by both the grantor and the grantee, and it must be submitted with the deed for recording.
Property in Kent County requires a New Property Owner Information Form. This form must be completed by the grantee. Kent County also requires the payment of all state and municipal realty transfer taxes upon the transfer, except for the City of Dover realty transfer tax (See 9 Del. C. 9605(i)).
In Sussex County, include an Affidavit of Realty Transfer Tax. It must be signed by the grantor and submitted with the deed.
Record the completed gift deed, along with additional materials, in the appropriate county's Recorder of Deeds office. Contact the same office to verify accepted forms of payment.
With gifts of real property, the recipient of the gift (grantee or donee) 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 Delaware, there is no state gift tax. For questions regarding state taxation laws, consult a tax specialist. Gifts of real property in Delaware are, however, subject to the federal gift tax. The person or entity making the gift (grantor or donor) is responsible for paying the federal gift 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 a Delaware lawyer with any questions about gift deeds or other issues related to the transfer of real property.
Deeds.com Delaware Gift Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Friday November 27, 2020
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