Legal Maxim

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Literal Meaning

Between the living




The phrase refers to a transfer of property by agreement between living persons and can be contrasted with a testamentary transfer, which is a transfer made in a will after death. Thus, an inter-vivos gift is a gift made while someone is alive. In general, an inter vivos gift refers to a transfer or gift given to someone while both the giver and the receiver are alive.

Where property passes by conveyance, the transaction is said to be inter vivos. However, all inter vivos gifts of assets, including but not limited to money, lands or buildings, are void if the donor is left without means of support and does not reserve for himself for life an adequate amount, separate from that gift to provide for his subsistence; provided, that it shall not apply to any gift not expressly and specifically declared void hereunder by an administrative or judicial tribunal of competent jurisdiction within the two-year period immediately following the date of the gift.

For a valid inter vivos gift, there must be a clear manifestation of the giver’s intent to release the object of gift and actual delivery and acceptance by the receiver must be done.


‘Z’, a businessman, promises his nephew, D, a piece of land if he works hard and passes his exams. D lives up to Z’s expectations and is gifted with the piece of land. Z then goes through all the processes of land transfer and gives D his title deed. This type of gift is considered an inter vivos gift.

Case Laws

In Hindustan Lever & Anr vs. the State Of Maharashtra & Anr., the Supreme Court of India observed that “An instrument whereby a co-owner of any property transfers his interest to another co-owner of the property and which is not an instrument of partition, shall, for the purposes of this clause, be deemed to be an instrument by which property is transferred inter vivos.”

In Thakore Shri Vinayasinhji (Dead) … vs Kumar Shri Natwarsinhji & Ors., the Supreme Court held that “with the incidents of self- acquired and separate property, so it follows that the holder of the impartible estate has the unlimited right of alienation not only by transfer inter vivos, but also by will. When the holder has the power to dispose of the estate during his lifetime, it would be quite illogical to hold that he would not have the power of disposition by a will.”

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