THE PLAINTIFF DID NOT DEMONSTRATE HIS DECEASED BROTHER MADE AN INTER VIVOS GIFT OF THE COOPERATIVE APARTMENT TO PLAINTIFF; THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS APPLIES AND THERE WAS NO WRITING; AND THE FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE TRANSFER PROVISIONS OF THE PROPRIETARY LEASE NEGATED A FINDING OF DONATIVE INTENT (FIRST DEPT).
The First Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiff did not demonstrate his deceased brother made an inter vivos gift of a cooperative apartment to plaintiff. The alleged transfer of the property was subject to the Statute of Frauds and there was no writing memorializing the alleged gift:
Defendant established that there was no valid inter vivos gift to plaintiff of the shares and proprietary lease for the apartment, as the statute of frauds applies to the sale of stock in a housing cooperative and there was no writing to effect the transfer … . …
Plaintiff’s claim further fails as a matter of law, as the decedent — his brother — failed to follow the transfer provisions of the proprietary lease, which required, among other things, a written assignment of shares signed by the shareholder and the approval of defendant’s board of directors to make a valid transfer of the shares to the apartment within the decedent’s lifetime … .
… [E]ven if the decedent had not been required to abide by the terms of the proprietary lease to make a valid inter vivos gift of the apartment, the lack of a writing also militates against establishing the decedent’s donative intent, which is a necessary element of a valid inter vivos gift … . Not only does the decedent’s failure to follow the procedures in the proprietary lease contradict any donative intent, but plaintiff also acknowledges that the delivery of the share certificate and proprietary lease were not made by the decedent himself, and the conflicting affidavits of the decedent’s girlfriend fail to establish that she was acting as decedent’s agent for that purpose. Rivera v 98-100 Ave. C Hous. Dev. Fund Corp., 2022 NY Slip Op 06074, First Dept 10-27-22
Practice Point: Plaintiff did not demonstrate his deceased brother made an inter vivos gift of a cooperative apartment. The Statute of Frauds applies and there was no writing. In addition the failure to follow the transfer provisions in the proprietary lease negated donative intent.