Arkansas law is clear that in order for an inter vivos gift to transpire it must be proven by clear and convincing evidence that (1) the donor was of sound mind; (2) an actual delivery of the property took place; (3) the donor clearly intended to make an immediate, present, and final gift; (4) the donor unconditionally released all future dominion and control over the property; and (5) the donee accepted the gift.
Appellee donor bought certificates of deposit payable to herself and to each of the appellants purported donees, as joint tenants with right of survivorship. The donor cashed the certificates and the donees filed the action for conversion of the proceeds, claiming that the certificates were gifts inter vivos. The donor contended that she only intended for the donees to have the certificates upon her death, if she had not already cashed them, and that she had never delivered possession of the certificates to them. On appeal, the court affirmed.
Was there a valid gift inter vivos by donor?
There were arguably disputed facts regarding whether or not the donor had the requisite intent to make an irrevocable gift inter vivos. However, it was undisputed that the donor retained sole possession of the certificates at all times and that she never delivered them to the donees. Thus, the donees offered no proof of the element of delivery, which was an essential element of the claim of a valid gift inter vivos. Therefore, there was no remaining genuine issue of material fact, and the donor was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.