What should I do if my father is trying to claim repayment for a gift?

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What should I do if my father is trying to claim repayment for a gift?

My father gave me 10k when I bought a house. He also gave me a bunch of tools that he no longer wanted. A local law firm wrote me a letter seeking to recover the “loan” amount and personal items. I supposedly have 10 business days to contact the law firm, else they claim “they have been authorized to initiate legal proceedings against me”. How should I proceed?

Asked on June 4, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, North Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all was there any expectation of repayment? Just because your father claims that the $10,000 was a loan doesn't automatically make is true. You say that he "gave me" the money when you bought your house. If you also got a mortgage the bank would have wanted to know where the $10,000 came from. So possibly a "gift letter" was written and signed by your father.  If not, was there at least a note or other legally binding agreement settingout the terms of repayment and interest rate, etc.? Were there any witnesses to the transaction other than you or your father? The fact is that if there is no evidence that this money was a loan the law will presume it to be a gift. The same holds true for the miscellaneous tools.

At this point, you may want to speak directly with an attorney as to how best to proceed from here. Paying for an hour or so consultation may well be worth it. 


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