What Is an Inter Vivos Gift?

An inter vivos gift is a type of gift that an individual gives while they are still alive. The term "inter vivos" is Latin for "between a living." This is the opposite of giving a gift "causa mortis" which means that an individual passes on a gift after they die.

In the area of estate planning, many people choose to give inter vivos gifts to their beneficiaries because it allows them to watch them enjoy them. Instead of providing the gifts through a will or a trust, this type of arrangement allows the grantor to oversee the process of distributing their estate. Many people prefer of this arrangement because it gives them total control of the entire process.

If you are considering giving inter vivos gifts, you should make sure that you do not give too much of your estate away. Many retired individuals give away most of their estate and then they do not have enough resources to last them for the rest of their life. Since you do not know how long you could live, it generally makes more sense to give a small inter vivos gift and then pass the rest on to your beneficiaries through a trust arrangement.