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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71050
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Good morning My mum gave me and my three sisters £5,000 when

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Good morning
My mum gave me and my three sisters £5,000 when she sold her house ten years ago. At the time she said it was a gift and as I owed around this amount of money to the tax man (I was self employed at the time) she paid this.
Four years ago she claimed she wanted it back, saying it was a loan only so as I only had half I gave her £2,500 then. She now wants the rest, although she has never asked for anything back from my sisters claiming 'that is different', which I don't see how it is.
I am getting married in May and cannot afford this.
I know she paid the tax man for me but my step dad her husband is now getting nasty and threatening court action. Can they take me to court for a gift even though they claim to have proof they paid the taxman for me? I am considering giving them the rest of the money to shut them up but it is a lot of money and I don't owe them anything. Would it get to court? How would you suggest I go from here?
Both my Mum and her husband are being unreasonable, both going a bit dotty remembering one thing one minute, changing their mind the next, turning up at our house and being horrible.
Anything you can suggest would be appreciated

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Why has your mother demanded the money back from you and not your sisters please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Because my sisters cannot afford it (according to my Mum) and I can, again, in her mind I can. I got compensation as I nearly died at work a few years ago. I have invested this and it is by no means 'ready cash' though is this really her business? I don't own my own home so it isn't a major amount of money.

No, its not but the problem is that you did pay sum of it.
How long ago did you pay the £2500 please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I paid £2500 back in February 2011 as she claimed she couldn't pay her fuel bill, eat proper food etc.

Then I was told by my Step Dad that my Mum was having shopping trips out with my sisters at my expense. £300 a time until the money was all gone

I am furious as he has now denied saying anything of the sort but he did.

I am being made a fool of but legally can I get into trouble if I don't pay up.


Well, only to the extent that she could sue you.

If this was a gift then she cannot recover it. Its not very clear really what her view of this is. She seems to be alleging a loan and then arguing that it was a gift but you should repay it because you can afford it.

It will only be recoverable if she can show it was a loan. On the positive side she gave a similar sum to your sisters but on the downside you have repaid something which suggests a loan.

She would have been time barred to recover this anyway as its more than 6 years old since the transfer but the repayment was within 6 years so time is started again from that time. However, the fact that she didn't enforce for so long does assist you because it tends to suggest she wasn't interested in recovery and courts do hate delay.

Its very unlikely that she will sue and even if she does the worst that will happen is that you will have to pay and pay a small amount in costs.

I wouldn't make any offers. Send her one letter setting out your view that this was a gift and invite her to sue if she disagrees.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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