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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

Lifetime transfers: dating of dispositions: chattels and corporeal moveables

In England, gifts of chattels can be effected by

  • actual or constructive delivery with the intention of making a gift, or
  • by making a deed of gift, or
  • by making a declaration of trust, which need not be in writing.

For a gift of chattels to be effective in the absence of a deed or declaration of trust, there must be some effective delivery to the donee. Mere words of gift, whether oral, or even written if not embodied in a deed, are not sufficient. There must be some act of delivery or change of possession which unequivocally demonstrates that the donor has transferred possession and title to the donee (Re Cole [1964] Ch 175).

In Scotland, for a gift of corporeal moveables (IHTM42700) to be effective there must be

  • intention to make the gift, and
  • delivery, or change of possession.

Delivery may be actual, constructive or symbolic.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)