Are written notations in a check register enough evidence to prove that loans were made?

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Are written notations in a check register enough evidence to prove that loans were made?

I am the executor of my mother’s estate. One of the beneficiaries, my sister, owes a significant debt to the estate. In my mother’s handwriting in her check register she wrote loan for the checks payed to my sister. Loan is not written on the checks. The checks were paid to my sister on an average frequency of about 1 a month and were not for birthdays and etc. These were oral agreements. There were no witnesses. My sister claims that the checks were gifts and refuses to settle her debt. My mother’s integrity is above reproach.

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for your situation.  You really need to consult with an attorney in this matter who can let you know what level of proof you will need because you are going to have to sue your sister for the money.  And your Mother can not testify.  You may have to authenticate her handwriting, prove that the register was in her possession (chain of custody) until it reached you and was not subject to being tampered,  possibly have people testify as to your Mother's accuracy in recording these type of things and her integrity.  It will be difficult, I am sure, but it can be done.  Good luck.


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