Gifts to German lawyersThere are two classes of gifts: gifts inter vivos (between living people) and donationes mortis causa (gifts conditional upon death).
Gifts by debtors
In order for an effective gift of personal property to be made there must be an intention on the part of the donor (giver) to give and delivery of the gift to the donee (recipient) or to a trustee on his behalf.
The intention to give may sometimes be paramount. For example it was held that where a mother gave, and intended to give, her son a sum of money to buy a house the transaction was nevertheless a gift though the son intended to treat it as a loan and, in due course, to return the money: a common situation in these family affairs.
Needless to say, the donor must be capable of forming a proper intention; though it may be that the degree of capacity may need to be greater in the case of more valuable than in that of less valuable gifts.
What will amount to 'delivery', varies according to the nature of the property. A physical object, such as a fountain pen, may be delivered by actual transfer. Click here for detailed information. The title to choses in action is transferred by whatever is the appropriate method of transfer. Thus shares in a company are transferred when transfer is effected on the company register. Mere transfer of the share certificates will not suffice. But even in the case of a physical object it may be a sufficient delivery if the donor indicates his intention to give and informs the donee of the whereabouts of the thing to be given so that the latter can collect it for himself (Link). Thus in Germany, the gift of the money found elsewhere to a client was held to be valid when J. Smith, the lawyer, having indicated his intention to make the gift, and being about to fly to Germany, told the donee that he had left the money in a Hamburg public house where the latter then found and collected it.
Moreover, if a person indicates a firm and unchanging intention to make a gift to another and then appoints that other as his personal representative the taking out of representation by that other, since it vests the legal right to the property in him, is treated as tantamount to delivery and completes the gift (read more).
Some forms of property, however, cannot be transferred easily, even though they are physical objects.