Typically, a gift deed, also called a deed of gift, identifies the donor, describes the donated materials, transfers legal ownership of the materials to the recipient, establishes any rules for use, specifies ownership of any intellectual property rights and indicates how to dispose of unwanted materials, explains the Society of American Archivists. This type of deed is used by repositories, such as museums, libraries and universities, that accept donated materials for archival, cultural and historical purposes.
A gift deed is used when a formal written agreement is necessary to prove the transfer of ownership of donated materials. The format of this type of deed is not set in stone; the parties are free to include terms that fall outside of the typical format. Once the document is approved by both the donor and recipient, they both sign it. Thereafter, the deed governs the legal status of the materials and the relationship between the parties, notes the Society of American Archivists. Signed gift deeds can be amended after the fact if both parties agree.
This type of deed can also govern a loan of material to a repository. In that case, the transfer of ownership section would instead authorize the transfer of possession of the material for a specific time period, notes the Society of American Archivists.