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, marital status, and mailing address, as well as the grantee's full name, marital status, vesting information, 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 Hawaii residential property, the primary methods for holding title are tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by the entirety. An estate conveyed to two or more people, including spouses, is considered a tenancy in common, unless the conveying instrument explicitly expresses otherwise (Haw. Rev. Stat. 509-1).
As with any conveyance of realty, include a complete legal description of the parcel. Recite the prior deed reference to maintain a clear chain of title, and detail any restrictions associated with the property. The deed must be signed by the grantor and acknowledged by a notarial officer. If the notarial officer does not personally know the grantor, one witness must also sign the document (Haw. Rev. Stat. 28:502-42). All signatures must be original.
In Hawaii, when the amount of consideration is valued at $100 or less, the transfer is exempt from the conveyance tax. A completed Exemption from Conveyance Tax certificate (Form P-64B) is required. Record the completed gift deed with the Bureau of Conveyances. Contact the same office to confirm recording fees and accepted forms of payment.
Hawaii maintains two separate systems for recording: Land Court (Torrens) and Regular System. The Bureau of Conveyances records for both Land Court and Regular System. Check the prior deed to determine in which system to record. A label appearing in the upper left-hand corner signifies recording in the Land Court system; a label in the upper right-hand corner signifies recording in the Regular System. If both sides contain labels, the deed is dual-system recorded. Make sure to record in the correct system, and consult an attorney with any questions.
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 Hawaii, there is no state gift tax, but gifts of real property are 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 (grantee) will be held liable . For questions regarding state and federal tax laws, consult a tax specialist.
In accordance with federal law, individuals are permitted an annual exclusion of $15,000 on gifts. This means that gifts valued below $15,000 do not require a federal gift tax return (Form 709). However, if the gift's value could possibly be disputed by the IRS, 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 Hawaii lawyer with any questions about gift deeds or other matters related to the transfer of real property.
Deeds.com Hawaii Gift Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Friday October 11, 2019
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