Disputes Arising From Gifts

Jan 19, 2018

Sometimes a gift is not a gift.  Take the example of an aging parent who decides to become “co-owners” of her home or (other valuable property) with one of her children.  When she dies, the home becomes property of that one child co-owner.  That child may claim that the home is a gift from the parent.  Other beneficiaries may claim that it was not intended as a gift, and should be split by all beneficiaries.

Ultimately, the person who receives a “gift” of significant value must prove that she somehow paid for it, or that it was intended as a gift.  Without such evidence, it will often be presumed that there was no gift at all.

A gift or transfer of wealth may be invalid if the donor suffers from disability, limited capacity, poor language skills, or any other vulnerability that makes the donor unable to protect his own interests.  This is especially so if the donor clearly could not afford to make such a gift.  Similarly, courts are suspicious of transfers of wealth where the recipient is also the person who arranged the transfer.

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