A gift deed, or deed of gift, is a legal document voluntarily transferring title to real property from one party (the grantor or donor) to another (the grantee or donee). A gift deed typically transfers real property between family or close friends. Gift deeds are also used to donate to a non-profit organization or charity. The deed serves as proof that the transfer is indeed a gift and without consideration (any conditions or form of compensation).
In order for gift deeds to be valid they must meet the following requirements: The grantor must intend to make a present gift of the property, the grantor must deliver the property to the grantee, and the grantee must accept the gift. A gift deed must contain language that explicitly states no consideration is expected or required, because any ambiguity or reference to consideration can make the deed contestable in court. A promise to transfer ownership in the future is not a gift, and a deed that does not immediately transfer the interest in the property, or meet any of the aforementioned requirements, may be revoked .
A lawful gift deed includes the grantor's full name and marital status, as well as the grantee's full name, marital status, mailing address, and vesting. Vesting describes how the grantee holds title to the property. For Wyoming residential property, the primary methods for holding title are tenancy in common, joint tenancy, and tenancy by entirety. A conveyance of real estate to two unmarried persons creates a tenancy in common, unless another intention is clearly specified (Wyo. Stat. Ann. 34-1-140). Tenancy by entirety is only available to married couples, and is the presumed vesting unless otherwise stated.
As with any conveyance of real estate, a gift deed requires a complete legal description of the parcel. Recite the source of title to establish a clear chain of title, and detail any restrictions associated with the property. Record the completed deed, along with any additional materials, in the clerk's office of the county where the property is located. All Wyoming conveyances require a completed Statement of Consideration. Find this form on the county clerk's website, or through the Wyoming State Board of Equalization website. It is the responsibility of the buyer (or the buyer's agent) to fully complete the Statement of Consideration (Wyo. Stat. Ann 34-1-142). Fremont County also requests a Fremont County Land Division Affidavit when recording an instrument used to transfer land.
The IRS collects a Federal Gift Tax on any transfer of property from one individual to another with no consideration, or consideration that is less than the full market value. 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) is not necessary. If the gift is something that could possibly be disputed by the IRS -- such as real property -- the grantor, who is responsible for paying the tax, may benefit from filing a Form 709. This protects the grantee, who would otherwise be billed for any unpaid or outstanding gift taxes , .
Note that Wyoming does not levy a tax on gifts. 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 recipient is responsible for paying the requisite state and federal income taxes .
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. For questions regarding federal and state taxation laws, consult a tax specialist. Contact a lawyer with any questions about gift deeds or other issues related to the transfer of real property.
Deeds.com Wyoming Gift Deed Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Wednesday October 14, 2020
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