What is a Gift Affidavit?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A gift affidavit is a legal document attesting that a gift has been given and providing information about the circumstances. There are a variety of instances where such documents may be required, ranging from disclosures politicians must file to paperwork on a loan where people are receiving a gift to help them with the down payment. Generic forms people can fill out to generate a gift affidavit are available, and it is also possible to draft an entirely new statement with the assistance of an attorney or guidebook to confirm that the statement is complete.

Gift affidavits are legal documents containing information about the nature of a gift.
Gift affidavits are legal documents containing information about the nature of a gift.

Sometimes, the gift-giver must fill out the gift affidavit, noting the name and contact information of parties involved, the date, and the nature of the gift. This type of affidavit is most commonly seen when people help each other with down payments on mortgages. Lenders may be concerned about people who were unable to save the funds needed on their own, or may worry that a “gift” is actually an unsecured loan and the borrower will get into financial trouble in the future and be unable to repay it. Requesting a gift affidavit allows a lender to receive documentation about who gave the gift, and the circumstances.

The gift affidavit affirms that a gift has been given, and details the circumstances.
The gift affidavit affirms that a gift has been given, and details the circumstances.

In other cases, a person receiving a gift must fill out a gift affidavit testifying to the nature of the gift and the circumstances. In some regions, politicians are barred from receiving gifts over a certain value and must declare all gifts received, a common reason to fill out a gift affidavit. These documents may be filed on the public record, allowing people to take note of the kinds of gifts received by politicians, and to see who is sending presents to people like legislators.

Falsification of a gift affidavit can be grounds for legal penalties. If people misstate the value or the circumstances of a gift deliberately, it can be considered a form of fraud, especially in situations where the affidavit is used as supporting material for something like a loan. It is important to make sure the document is an accurate reflection of the situation as people understand it. Innocent mistakes do happen; someone might, for example, receive an antique that has been improperly valued, and thus not be aware that the value stated in the affidavit is not correct. Once the mistake has been recognized, it should be corrected.

In addition to a gift affidavit, documentation like canceled checks, proof of shipping, and so forth may need to be provided. This documentation proves that a gift was indeed transferred to the recipient.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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