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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 made a verbal agreement with my brother to loan him £3,500

Customer Question

I made a verbal agreement with my brother to loan him £3,500 last year, a couple of weeks after my father died. My brother said he would pay the money back when my father's estate was settled. There have been numerous delays in the settling of my father's estate due to a lack of communication between family members. My relationship has broken down with my brother, and he has become rude an offensive since I asked him to repay the loan by no later than 1st September. Is there anything I can do please?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

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

What was the original agreement about how he would repay?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We verbally agreed that he would pay the money back when my father's estate was settled. This is not the first time I have loaned him money in the past.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

But was that when he first borrowed the money?

Your post above suggests it was an offer he made later?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes it was.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Are you still there?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thats not particularly good news I'm afraid.

You do have a contract with him and it is enforceable.

The problem here is that you seem to accept agreeing to give him until the settlement to pay you and there has been no settlement so far.

I do realise that might not have been what you meant but it is what you agreed and there is no way around that.

The fact that you didn't expect the event to take so long is no defence.

If he doesn't pay upon settlement then you can sue him at the small claims court and you will win. Until settlement though there has been no breach of this contract.

I'm very sorry but that is your position.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo. I'm a little disappointed with your reply. Unfortunately there was no written agreement about this with my brother, although I have a print out from my bank account to prove that the money was loaned to him. Presumably there are no further steps I can take.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
You don't need a written contract. Your verbal contract is perfectly fine. A contract does not become any more enforceable because its reduced to writing. The purpose of a written document is to prove what was agreed and no more.

I don't think there would be any problem with showing that a contract did exist. You can prove a transfer took place so he can only either accept that it was a loan or argue that it was a gift which the court isn't going to accept easily. Relatives do give each other expensive gifts but not usually cash transfers.

The problem here is that the agreement was to repay after a specific event. You can only sue when a person is in breach.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks Jo

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem and all the best.

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