Gifts-lnformal Writing as Substitute for Delivery

Traditionally, three requirements must be satisfied in order to make a valid inter vivos gift of personal property: (1) the donor must demonstrate his intention to make such a gift; (2) there must be a delivery to the donee of the property itself or of an instrument or deed of gift; and (3) the donee must accept this delivery. If the subject matter of the gift is not susceptible of immediate delivery, a question arises as to the means by which the delivery requirement may be satisfied. Although a donor in such a situation commonly delivers an informal writing which reflects or confirms his intention to make the gift, the courts have been widely split on the issue of whether such delivery should be accepted as a substitute for delivery of the subject matter of the gift. Two recent cases illustrate this divergence of opinion.