If I loaned my parents money but they refuse to pay me back, since I don’t have a signed contract, is there anything I can do to get my money back?

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If I loaned my parents money but they refuse to pay me back, since I don’t have a signed contract, is there anything I can do to get my money back?

I served 8 years in the Marine Corps. When I re-enlisted, I received a bonus. I loaned my parents $17,000 so they could pay off their house because they couldn’t make payments. Now, 3 years later, they refuse to pay me back.

Asked on October 11, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can sue them to recover the money. You would need to prove, whether by a promissory note, contract, other writing, email, text message, or even simply your testimony, that the money was a loan, not a gift, and also when it was supposed to be repaid; you'd also need to prove, again via testimony, cancelled checks, etc., that you provided the money to them; and your parents can provide any evidence or testimony to the contrary. If you can convince the court (i.e. the judge and/or jury) that it is more likely than not that you loaned your parents the money, which they were supposed to repay but did not, you should be able to recover it. One option is to sue in small claims court, where you can act as your own attorney.


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