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  • Deathbed gifts

    Deathbed gifts

    It is possible to make a gift upon death without making a Will – a deathbed gift.

    The Court recently confirmed the conditions for a deathbed gift, which are:

    • The gift has to be made in contemplation of impending death;
    • The gift has to be conditional – not to take effect until the death of the donor and being revocable until then;
    • There has to be delivery of the subject matter of the gift or title to it.

    In the case in question, Mr Bogusz gave his adopted daughter, Ms Vallee, his house, on the basis that he did not have long to live and told her that he did not expect to be alive when she was due to visit him again. He gave her the deeds and keys to his house, but nothing was done to transfer the property into her name.

    When Mr Bogusz died three months later, without a Will, Ms Vallee tried to claim that the house was hers on the basis that Mr Bogusz had given it to her on his deathbed. The Treasury Solicitor did not agree and found Mr Bogusz’s brother in the Ukraine and obtained a Grant of Letters of Administration in his name.

    Ms Vallee made an application to the Court and the Judge decided in her favour, but the Administrator appealed. The appeal was dismissed and the Court held that the gift of property satisfied the above conditions and was a deathbed gift.


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