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  • FIRST POST
    • Theaze
    • By Theaze 7th Feb 18, 3:21 PM
    • 1Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Theaze
    Legalities around paying back gifts of money
    • #1
    • 7th Feb 18, 3:21 PM
    Legalities around paying back gifts of money 7th Feb 18 at 3:21 PM
    A couple of years ago we were in a difficult financial position through no fault of our own. Our house was up for sale and all of our savings were going on debt payments due to the collapse of our business which again happened through no fault of our own.
    At the time we weren't speaking to my parents but they decided they wanted to gift us some money to help us out. At the time I told.my husband and my parents I did not want to take the money ( I have returned gifted monies in the past) but the money was transferred into my bank ac and as we were absolutely desperate - about to be made bankrupt and homeless I backed down and accepted . I received a hand written note from them at the time outlining they wanted to help us but I also text them expressing how uncomfortable I felt as we probably wouldn't ever be able to pay back the money.
    2 years later we are just getting back on our feet. We still dont speak to my parents.
    A year ago I received texts and letters from my father saying his circumstances had changed and he now wanted the money repaying. I ignored the contact as we were unable to do so.
    We have since sold a property and the proceeds of which ( all in my name) are again going towards paying off the final debts we have been managing.
    In January my husband personally received legal correspondence on behalf of my father. It stated that the money given was apparently a personal loan to my husband to help his business ( his business had already closed when the money was put in my bank ac) and that it had only been deposited in my bank account because my husband didn't have a bank ac- another lie.
    It stated that because we had now sold some property my father wanted the money returned.

    Where do we stand legally?

    There was no contract or even informal signed notice .
    He has approached my husband claiming it was a business loan yet we were told the money was a gift to help us out and it went into my account.
    We have a hand written note to this effect- that they wanted to help us out so we didn't have to sell.our home.
    There are genuine reasons why I have no contact with my parents so , respectively, I'm not requesting advice reflecting the perceived morality of the situation, just the legal position.
Page 1
    • zx81
    • By zx81 7th Feb 18, 3:24 PM
    • 15,499 Posts
    • 16,440 Thanks
    zx81
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 3:24 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Feb 18, 3:24 PM
    It's up to them to provide evidence that it was a loan. If needed, a judge would then rule on whether it was or not.
    • davidwood681
    • By davidwood681 7th Feb 18, 3:44 PM
    • 54 Posts
    • 142 Thanks
    davidwood681
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 3:44 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Feb 18, 3:44 PM
    They helped you out when you needed it.

    Do the same for them.

    After that, you're both in the same position and can see where the relationship ends up.

    Edit...Just read your last line.
  • National Debtline
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 4:45 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Feb 18, 4:45 PM
    Hi Theaze and welcome to MSE,


    Unfortunately, the only way to know your legal position is to get some legal advice. There are organisations that can offer cheap/ free legal advice, this is just one you may choose to use www.lawcentres.org.uk


    At this stage it sounds as though you are simply being asked to repay (albeit formally asked by a solicitor your parents may have sought their own advice from and/or employed to act on your behalf) and you can either engage and dispute/ negotiate with them now, or ignore it and see if they raise a claim in the county court.


    If they do send you claim forms, do not ignore them, get legal advice and respond accordingly. There are free advice services that can advise you how to reply to claim forms if it goes that far.


    Laura
    @natdebtline
    We work as money advisers for National Debtline and have specific permission from MSE to post to try to help those in debt. Read more information on National Debtline in MSE's Debt Problems: What to do and where to get help guide. If you find you're struggling with debt and need further help try our online advice tool My Money Steps
    • dealer wins
    • By dealer wins 7th Feb 18, 8:46 PM
    • 5,651 Posts
    • 10,628 Thanks
    dealer wins
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 8:46 PM
    • #5
    • 7th Feb 18, 8:46 PM
    Legally you dont have to repay them as it was a gift, morally you should though.
    Choose life
    • venison
    • By venison 7th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    • 1,624 Posts
    • 1,741 Thanks
    venison
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    • #6
    • 7th Feb 18, 8:47 PM
    Seems like there might be a difference between what is legally correct and what is morally the right thing to do. I suppose one question would be if you have children would you like them to treat you in this manner?
    I know you may think this is me being harsh but I suspect it will be what others are thinking.
    • Shakin Steve
    • By Shakin Steve 7th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    • 1,322 Posts
    • 1,002 Thanks
    Shakin Steve
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    • #7
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:08 PM
    It's up to them to provide evidence that it was a loan. If needed, a judge would then rule on whether it was or not.
    Originally posted by zx81
    Spot on. It really is as simple as that.
    I came into this world with nothing and I've got most of it left.
    • antrobus
    • By antrobus 7th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
    • 15,472 Posts
    • 22,073 Thanks
    antrobus
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
    • #8
    • 7th Feb 18, 9:16 PM
    Seems like there might be a difference between what is legally correct and what is morally the right thing to do. I suppose one question would be if you have children would you like them to treat you in this manner?
    I know you may think this is me being harsh but I suspect it will be what others are thinking.
    Originally posted by venison
    Given that the OP states that they have "a hand written note" confirming that the money was a gift, what sort of parent would be prepared to go to court and commit perjury to claim otherwise?

    If you have parents, would you like them to treat you in this manner?
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 7th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    • 13,210 Posts
    • 12,634 Thanks
    sourcrates
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    • #9
    • 7th Feb 18, 10:00 PM
    I really dont like posts such as this, I dont know your reasons for not speaking to your parents, and I dont want to know, but whatever it is, it didnt stop them coming to your aid when you needed them, you should show them the same courtesy.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Free Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • boo_star
    • By boo_star 7th Feb 18, 10:54 PM
    • 1,378 Posts
    • 752 Thanks
    boo_star
    I really dont like posts such as this, I dont know your reasons for not speaking to your parents, and I dont want to know, but whatever it is, it didnt stop them coming to your aid when you needed them, you should show them the same courtesy.
    Originally posted by sourcrates
    Agreed.

    They helped you out despite having no legal obligation to. How about you help them out despite not having a legal obligation to?
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 8th Feb 18, 2:11 AM
    • 446 Posts
    • 471 Thanks
    stuartJo1989
    Wait, hold on a sec...

    You say "we weren't speaking to my parents but they decided they wanted to gift us some money to help us out"

    How did they find out the following?

    - That you were in financial difficulty
    - The amount you needed to get straight
    - Your bank account details (they might have that saved on their online bank account to be fair)

    Seems a bit weird how you weren't on speaking terms, but they cottoned on? I'm thinking that either you DID approach them, or maybe your husband went behind your back a bit (not in a bad way) and contacted them?

    Based on other parts of your post (proceedings being issued against your husband + you saying "At the time I told.my husband and my parents") I reckon your husband has made the arrangements with your parents. If that's true then HE might be the one liable, and you can get off scott free without even having to debate whether it was a gift or loan (happy days!). The only rub is that if you don't support your husband through this then he'll likely take off!

    Oh and your husband isn't family. And you aren't on speaking terms with your parents. So I'd imagine that it would more likely be a LOAN than a gift, that's fairly common sense.... If you don't get on with someone then you don't really gift them money, you are more likely to LEND them money because you don't like them *that* much. MAYBE it was a gift, but your parents must be absolutely **amazingly** good people to do that (which is a poor reflection on you).

    Ultimately, you need to pay it from a moral perspective. But from a legal perspective, you probably need to pay someone for proper advice and you've got at least a 50-50 chance I'd say. I would just be wary about the possibility of stitching up your husband here and stretching your relationship.

    Personal comment: This is one of the most depressing things I've ever read on this forum. Makes me appreciate my mum and dad so much more.
    Last edited by stuartJo1989; 08-02-2018 at 2:20 AM.
    • Puddylove
    • By Puddylove 8th Feb 18, 11:55 AM
    • 480 Posts
    • 778 Thanks
    Puddylove
    Parents aren't perfect, but it sounds as though yours love you, and are trying.

    Perhaps you could try a little too, before they are lost to you.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 8th Feb 18, 12:16 PM
    • 1,204 Posts
    • 1,118 Thanks
    Lungboy
    I don't get why people are saying that paying it back is the morally right thing to do. It was a gift. It's pretty morally bankrupt to start asking for gifts back.
    • stuartJo1989
    • By stuartJo1989 8th Feb 18, 12:29 PM
    • 446 Posts
    • 471 Thanks
    stuartJo1989
    I don't get why people are saying that paying it back is the morally right thing to do. It was a gift. It's pretty morally bankrupt to start asking for gifts back.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    Maybe our moral compasses are pointing in different directions.
    • Voyager2002
    • By Voyager2002 8th Feb 18, 2:14 PM
    • 11,927 Posts
    • 8,081 Thanks
    Voyager2002
    I don't get why people are saying that paying it back is the morally right thing to do. It was a gift. It's pretty morally bankrupt to start asking for gifts back.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    However, if someone gives you what you need when you need it and then is in trouble themselves, it is common decency to try to help.
    • Malthusian
    • By Malthusian 8th Feb 18, 4:31 PM
    • 3,700 Posts
    • 5,761 Thanks
    Malthusian
    However, if someone gives you what you need when you need it and then is in trouble themselves, it is common decency to try to help.
    Originally posted by Voyager2002
    The OP doesn't have any money to help them with. "2 years later we are just getting back on our feet" End of moral debate.

    OP - to answer the question you asked, if you have described the facts correctly, particularly the handwritten note, legally they don't have a leg to stand on.
    • laidbackgjr
    • By laidbackgjr 8th Feb 18, 5:18 PM
    • 454 Posts
    • 1,180 Thanks
    laidbackgjr
    I don't get why people are saying that paying it back is the morally right thing to do. It was a gift. It's pretty morally bankrupt to start asking for gifts back.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    I think the moral view is not that you payback a gift - but that OP also gifts money to their parents to help them out - in the same way that their parents gifted money to them to help them out. If the amount happens to be the same so be it!
    • Shakin Steve
    • By Shakin Steve 8th Feb 18, 6:00 PM
    • 1,322 Posts
    • 1,002 Thanks
    Shakin Steve
    OP's question: Where do we stand, legally?

    What the hell has any of this morality stuff got to do with anything?
    I came into this world with nothing and I've got most of it left.
    • bengal-stripe
    • By bengal-stripe 8th Feb 18, 6:39 PM
    • 3,175 Posts
    • 2,057 Thanks
    bengal-stripe
    OP - to answer the question you asked, if you have described the facts correctly, particularly the handwritten note, legally they don't have a leg to stand on.
    Originally posted by Malthusian
    That handwritten note does not say whether it was a gift or a loan. Either would have been a welcome help for someone in financial distress. And in her reply, the OP talks about paying it back, she doesn't talk about a gift and neither does she thank her parents.

    Ultimately it might be necessary for a judge to decide, not on evidence (there doesn't seem to be any) but on probabilities.


    I received a hand written note from them at the time outlining they wanted to help us but I also text them expressing how uncomfortable I felt as we probably wouldn't ever be able to pay back the money.

    We have a hand written note to this effect- that they wanted to help us out so we didn't have to sell.our home.
    Originally posted by Theaze
    • bobbymotors
    • By bobbymotors 8th Feb 18, 8:10 PM
    • 602 Posts
    • 836 Thanks
    bobbymotors
    pay them. they helped you out. pay them back
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