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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was given a gift of some money a few years back by an elderly

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I was given a gift of some money a few years back by an elderly gentleman friend.
He always said to me he wanted to help me financially as I was going through some tough times and he regarded me as an adopted daughter.
He has recently died and his wife and son are asking me to repay the money he gave me. He told his wife he was lending me the money to "keep her quiet and appease her"
However he told me it was a gift.
Where do I stand legally please?

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

How long ago was it given to you and how much?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Over a period of about eight years he gave me around 8 thousand pounds in odd cheques and some cash He also paid some of the bills at my rented house.

I did write a letter once to his wife at his behest saying how grateful I was for the "loan" of 2.5k. He thought that this would stop her complaining about him "lending" me money. I always said to him I didn't want to take it because I could never pay it back but he always insisted saying his wife had "pots of money and he wanted to spend his money in his own" way by helping me out. He also felt that my daughter was like a grandaughter to him. I tried to discourage him but frankly I was the only person he could sit and talk to. I did give him about 1800 back in cash in small amounts over about three years. He used to call in all the time and leave me presents.

I never had an actual loan agreement and he insisted everything he gave me was a gift but that he kept records to keep his wife from complaining.

Thanks for the information and the time.

I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.

Obviously he is sadly dead. However, they can sue on behalf of his estate.

If you had not written to her referring to a loan then you might have had a defence. They have to prove it was a loan not a gift and without him they may have struggled although a court would probably be keen to find a way to ensure this was repaid anyway. Its quite unlikely that a court would accept that such a high sum was a gift. In any event, you have referred to it as a loan. If she still has that document then that will seal the court's decision here.

Similarly the Limitation Act 1980 might have assisted you. If you had not acknowledged this debt within 6 years then they would have been time barred but the letter referring to this as a loan I imagine was within the last 6 years and that will amount to acknowledgement.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

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

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have no income as I am out of work due to ill health . I have since married and live in my husbands home and I have signed a deed of trust confirming I have no financial interest or benefit from the property. Can they place a charge on the property as it is in joint names?

If the Court thinks that the deed of trust has been signed to disadvantage a creditor then they can set it aside I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your time. I will arrange to get myself some legal representation.



No problem and all the best.

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