Will vs Gift – Difference and Comparison

What is Will?

In legal terminology, a “will” is a written declaration of an individual’s wishes about the distribution of their property and assets after death. A will must be drafted and signed in accordance with the laws of the nation where it is created since it is a legally binding document. The testator must sign a will, and at least two witnesses must also sign the document in their presence.

The “testator” is the individual who creates the will. The testator must sign a will, and at least two witnesses must also sign the document in front of them. In some jurisdictions, a notary public must also notarize or witness the will. A will can be used to specify how a testator’s assets should be divided among their heirs or beneficiaries, appoint a guardian for any minor children, and name an executor.

In addition to naming an executor to carry out the terms of the will, a will might also name a guardian for any minor children and specify how the testator’s assets should be distributed among their heirs or beneficiaries. It is important for individuals to regularly review and update their will to ensure that it accurately reflects their current wishes and circumstances.

What is a Gift?                                                                             

In the legal context, a gift is a property transfer from one person to another without any consideration or payment in return. Gifts can be made during a person’s lifetime or upon their death through a will or trust. Gifts made during a person’s lifetime are irrevocable, meaning that the donor cannot change their mind and take back the gift once it has been made.

Gifts made during a person’s lifetime are known as inter-vivos gifts. These kinds of gifts are irreversible, which means that after they have been given to the receiver, the giver cannot change their mind and take the present back. Depending on the value of the present and the connection between the giver and the recipient, inter-Vivos contributions may be liable to gift tax.

Gifts made upon a person’s death are known as testamentary gifts and are made through a will or trust. Testamentary gifts are revocable, meaning the donor can change their mind and alter the will or trust provisions before their death. After the donor’s death, the gift becomes irrevocable and cannot be altered. Testamentary gifts may also be subject to estate tax.

Difference Between Will and Gift

  1. A will takes effect after the testator’s death, whereas a gift is made during the donor’s lifetime.
  2. A will is used to distribute a person’s assets and property after their death, whereas a gift is a voluntary transfer of ownership of property from one person to another.
  3. A will is irrevocable, meaning it cannot be changed once executed, whereas gifts are revocable.
  4. A will must go through the probate process in order for its provisions to be carried out, while gifts do not go through probate.
  5. A will is a formal document that must be prepared and executed by the laws of the jurisdiction in which it is made, whereas a gift can be made informally.

Comparison Between Will and Gift

Parameters of ComparisonWillGift
EffectivenessAfter the Testator’s DeathDuring the Donor’s Lifetime
FunctionTo Distribute a Person’s AssetsTo Voluntarily Transfer Ownership
RevokabilityGenerally IrrevocableTypically Revocable
ProbateMust Go Through Probate ProcessDo Not Need to Go Through Probate
FormalityFormal DocumentInformal Document


  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/342449
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fmdB2O_j_ScC&oi=fnd&pg=PA96&dq=will+and+gift+law&ots=ib_T4o4Pig&sig=wwUowuRecmeYq0vb78FhwsR9rag