Do I have to repay a gift to my ex father-in-law even though there are no signatures or documents saying this was anything but a gift?

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Do I have to repay a gift to my ex father-in-law even though there are no signatures or documents saying this was anything but a gift?

My father-in-law approched me. He asked how much will it take for us to buy this house and I said $20,000. A few days later he called me offering the money and I told him there was no way I could ever pay back that amount of money. He said, “You don’t have to repay it, it is a gift not a loan.” Now that my wife and I are getting a divorce, he wants us to repay the amount. There are no documents signed by me or anything saying this was loan or repayable if we divorce. In the eyes of the law, do I have to repay this amount? Or my half? How does the law see this?

Asked on January 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

Trevor Clement / Law Office of Trevor A. Clement, LLC

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Loans have to be repaid, gifts do not.  Whether you have to pay it or not depends on whether it was a gift or not.  You're saying it's a gift, he's saying it's a loan, so it all depends on what evidence each of you have to back up your position.

How long ago was the transaction?  Have you ever repaid him for any of it?  Do you have any proof at all that it's a gift?  Does he have any proof at all that it's a loan?  Does anyone else know about it?  Would they testify that it was a gift or a loan?  What does your soon-to-be ex-wife say it was?

Whether you have to repay it or not depends on whether the jury believes it was a gift or a loan.


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