Gifts play an important role in life and law. We saw in Chapter 5 that a donee—the recipient of a gift—is not a bona fide or good-faith purchaser because she is not a “purchaser.” Similarly, as you will study later in your course, real estate recording acts do not protect donees the way they protect good-faith purchasers and creditors. However, many uses of common law estates and interests, discussed later in this book, begin with a gift or a bequest.
A gift is a noncontractual, gratuitous transfer of property. It is made without legal consideration. If there is consideration, the law of gifts does not apply. A transfer for consideration is a sale, and the law of contracts applies.
There are two types of gifts: first, a gift between living persons is called an inter vivos gift; second, a gift made on account of a donor's impending death is called a gift causa mortis. A transfer of property by will after a person's death is called a devise or bequest and not a gift.