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A verbal gift is not valid unless there is an actual or symbolical delivery of the thing to the donee. While this is undoubtedly the general rule, it is not always strictly applied, especially when the parties to the gift are members of the same family and occupy the same house as a home. The rule as to delivery is not so strictly applied to transactions between members of a family living in the same house, the law in such cases accepting as a delivery acts which would not be so regarded if the transactions were between strangers living in different places. It is not required that the thing given should be removed from their common residence. It is sufficient, if it clearly appears that the donor has relinquished, and the donee has acquired, all dominion over and control of the property, but even in such cases there must be something to show that the gift was completed.
Before he died, the mortgagee's father executed a grant deed of his farm, reserving a life estate to himself, his wife, and incompetent daughter, with a stipulation that the mortgagee should pay a certain sum to his other sisters, one of the mortgagors and the administratrix. The mortgagee made such payments. After the death of the father, the mortgagee sold certain personal property and loaned the money to the mortgagors. There was no written evidence of the sale or gift of it to the mortgagee, but the mortgagee testified that the father had verbally given him the property. The mortgagee brought suit against the mortgagors to foreclose the mortgage given to secure a promissory note for a certain sum. Intervenor administratrix also filed a complaint. The trial court found in favor of the mortgagee, foreclosing the mortgage and declaring that the proceeds be paid to him. The administratrix appealed, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to show a gift of the property by the father to the mortgagee.
Was the evidence insufficient to show a gift of the property by the father to the mortgagee?
The court affirmed the judgment. Though a verbal gift was not valid unless there was an actual or symbolical delivery to the donee, the court held that it was not strictly applied when the parties to the gift were members of the same family and occupied the same house as a home. There was evidence that the father had surrendered all control of the property to the mortgagee, who assumed all upkeep of the farm after the grant.