Free gift deed templates (Australia)

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Lawpath - Gift deed

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Whether it's for Christmas, a birthday or 'just because', when giving a gift it's not usually our first instinct to draft a lengthy legal document. If you're thinking about transferring property to someone as a gift or with no expectation of payment, however, you might want to consider a gift deed.

Read on to find out exactly what a gift deed is, when you might need one and where you can find free templates to help you prepare your own.

What is a gift deed?

A gift deed, sometimes referred to as a deed of gift, is a legal document used to transfer ownership of property from between parties when the giver doesn't want payment for it from the recipient. Property can be a sum of money, goods or actual property (realty).

A gift deed acts as proof of the transfer and helps to avoid any misunderstandings of ownership. It is also irrevocable and once the deed has been executed, a transfer must be made to the recipient.

Gift of Deed sample from Lawpath

Download this template at Lawpath

When should I use a gift deed?

A gift deed is useful when one party wants to voluntarily gift property with conclusive evidence of their intentions. This helps in cases where there could be a misunderstanding as to who owns the property or whether the property was loaned instead of gifted.

Many people use a gift deed when gifting property to family members or close friends. A gift deed shows what the giver's intentions are upfront, especially to parties who believe they have a claim to the property.

Gift deed vs a will

Both a gift deed and a will are legal documents that allow you to transfer ownership of your property to another party. The main difference between the two is that the property is exchanged immediately following execution of a gift deed, while the transfer takes effect after the death of the person executing a will.

Depending on the property being transferred, there are also different tax treatments for a will vs a gift deed.

What does a gift deed include?

The aim of a gift deed is to provide clear evidence of the gift giver's intentions to transfer ownership of property and remove any doubt for anyone who believes they have a claim to the property.

A gift deed should have a few standard elements including:

  • Details of the gift giver
  • Details of the gift receiver
  • Description of the property being transferred
  • Terms and conditions of the transfer such as ensuring the property has no existing claims

The gift deed should include that the gift giver is transferring the property voluntarily, out of their own choice without any force or coercion.

How effective is a gift deed?

While it is not compulsory to execute a gift deed to gift property, having one in place creates a valid documentary record. In many instances, a gift deed should be sufficient proof of transfer of ownership. In some cases it's not legally enforceable if the gift recipient requires further help from the giver to complete a transfer.

Do I need a lawyer for a gift deed?

The type of property being gifted might mean there are additional requirements for a transfer to be legally recognised. For anything more complicated than personal goods, you should consider legal advice to make sure a gift deed is appropriate.

There are two types of property when it comes to gift deeds: movable (eg. jewellery) and immovable (eg. real estate). You will need to register the gift deed if the property being gifted is immovable. There may also be several types of fees and taxes that will need to be paid by both the gift giver and the receiver when transferring property to family or friends using a gift deed.

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How do I write a gift deed?

When it comes to something as complicated as transferring property, it's best to use a template to make sure you capture all the necessary elements of a gift deed. There are many samples and examples available online to give you an idea of what to include. Some legal websites even offer free gift deed templates where you can input your information and download the completed document to be printed.

Navigating the world of legalese is never easy, especially when you're trying to do something that should be simple, like giving a gift. Fortunately, there are several resources available online to help you.

Below we've listed a few options to get your hands on a gift deed template and take the guesswork out of creating your document.

  • LawDepot. LawDepot provides a wide selection of free online documents including a gift deed template. You can answer a few questions online before downloading the document straight to your computer.
  • Lawpath. Lawpath is a legal resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses with an online repository of legal document templates. A free gift deed template is available but users must sign-up to access customisation options.
  • Legal Consolidated. While not free, Legal Consolidated provides a deed of gift template which you can complete online with free legal advice.
  • Legal Rocket. A free deed of gift template is available with the option to pay extra for legal assistance.

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