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Calculating PromisesThe Emergence of Modern American Contract Doctrine$
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Roy Kreitner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753982

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753982.001.0001

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The Gift Beyond the Grave: Case Law

The Gift Beyond the Grave: Case Law

Chapter:
(p.43) Two The Gift Beyond the Grave: Case Law
Source:
Calculating Promises
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804753982.003.0003

The case law of gifts offers important insights into how consideration doctrine works. Gifts and gift promises are made in the context of intimate relationships, but gift givers often manifest clear intentions to give. The tension between privileging intention while playing down relationship is reflected in the technical requirements for valid gift giving. Litigation over the validity of gifts arises almost exclusively when the donor dies. Around the end of the nineteenth century, gift litigation arose in two scenarios. The first deals with the so-called poor man's will, where a donor attempts to give personal property to the people closest to him or her prior to death. The second concerns the attempt to forgive loans made to family or close friends. Three questions need to be considered: what acts will amount to a sufficient delivery, what evidence will be sufficient to establish the making of a gift, and the relationship between the acts of delivery and the intention to make a gift.

Keywords:   gifts, case law, death, gift giving, intention, litigation, poor man's will, loans, delivery, evidence

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