Husband funded an IRA in his wife’s name. Divorce proceedings and trials took place. The wife argued that the IRA money was a gift to her from her husband. She testified that the transfer was to make her feel secure. He testified that the transfer was to protect him from malpractice claims against him. It was her nonmarital property, she argued. It was not marital property, she argued.
There are two presumptions at work here. One is that property accumulated during the marriage is marital property. The other is that there is a gift when a piece of property is transferred from one spouse to the other.
The gift must be proven by clear, convincing, and unmistakable evidence. The presumption of marital property must be overcome with this evidence.
A gift is a voluntary transfer of property by one person to another. The donor must show an intent to make such a gift. The property must be delivered to the other irrevocably. That cannot be changed or reversed.
The court saw no intent from the husband not to make a gift. The husband testified that it was his intent for these monies to go into his wife’s IRA. It was to be under her sole control.
The fact he made the gift for tax purposes meant nothing to the court. His motive was immaterial. Intent and motive should not be confused. Motive is what makes a person act or fails to act. Intent refers only to the state of mind with which the act is done or not done.
IRMO Weiler, 258 Ill.App.3d 454.
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