Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1523 defines the three kinds of donations inter vivos: There are three kinds of donations inter vivos: The donation purely gratuitous, or that which is made without condition and merely from liberality; The onerous donation, or that which is burdened with charges imposed on the donee; The remunerative donation, or that the object of which is to recompense for services rendered. The onerous and the remunerative donations are defined in the next two succeeding articles: La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1524. Onerous donation: The onerous donation is not a real donation, if the value of the object given does not manifestly exceed that of the charges imposed on the donee. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1525. Remunerative donation: The remunerative donation is not a real donation, if the value of the services to be recompensed thereby being appreciated in money, should be little inferior to that of the gift. The next article tells us that onerous and remunerative donations are not subject to the rules peculiar to donations inter vivos, except when the value of the object given exceeds by one-half that of the charges or of the services. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1526.
The issue in this case is the ownership of two certificates of deposit and a N.O.W. account. The accounts were in Jonesville Bank & Trust Company, and were payable to Julius C. Lawrence or Henry D. Jones, Jr. After Julius Lawrence died in January 1993, Jonesville Bank & Trust Company deposited the three bank accounts, totalling $ 175,061.64, into the registry of court, and provoked a concursus naming Jones as a defendant, as well as the deceased's legal heirs, consisting of his brother Jack, two sisters, and three children of a deceased sister. In a separate proceeding, a succession was opened. Lawrence had no forced heirs but he left collateral heirs. The brother, Jack, was appointed administrator. A purported will, leaving "my property" to Henry D. Jones, Jr., deceased's nephew, was placed in the succession record. The validity of the will was put at issue. The succession issue and the concursus were consolidated and tried. The issue in the succession was the validity of the purported will. The issue in the concursus was the ownership of the money that had been in the accounts in the bank. The trial judge ruled that the will was invalid, and that this was therefore an intestate succession. In the concursus, the trial judge ruled that Henry D. Jones, Jr. had established his ownership of the funds by virtue of remunerative and onerous donations. Only the judgment declaring Jones the owner by virtue of remunerative and onerous donations is appealed.
Did the gift of the money constitute inter vivos remunerative and onerous donations?
The court found that the mathematical proportion between the value of the gift and that of the services rendered and charges imposed satisfied the definitions of onerous and remunerative donations. In consequence, the rules peculiar to donations inter vivos did not apply in this case; rather the applicable rules were those pertaining to conventional obligations or contracts. In this case the court found that it was a pure onerous contract because the value of the gift was about equal to the services and the charges. Interpreting the manifest intent of the decedent that his nephew should be the owner of his money in the decedent's lifetime, the court found that the transfer was inter vivos. The nephew was the owner of the money. It was not part of the succession of the decedent.