Are gifts legally protected?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Are gifts legally protected?

My estranged brother gave me a handful of baseball cards 10 years ago. Now he is threatening me with calling the authorities if I don’t give them back. He claims he never gifted them to me. Do I have any legal


Asked on November 8, 2017 under Criminal Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Legally, a gift, once given, cannot be ungiven;  it forever more belongs to the recipient, and the giver has no right t get it back. The cards are your property, not his. In theory, if he could convince the authorities that he never gave them to you but rather that you stole them, he could look to press charges, but based on the facts you describe and how long ago this occured, that it is unlikely to happen (it is unlikely the police will feel that a 10-year-old transaction involving one brother giving baseball cards to another was theft).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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