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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 35056
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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Gift or loan? My dad died in 2007 and shortly afterwards

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Gift or loan?
My dad died in 2007 and shortly afterwards I sold my own house and moved back to live with my mother. I bought mum's house but she promptly divided the proceeds between myself and my two brothers.
In 2010 mum had a stroke which left her disabled. Social Services advised that mum would not be able to use a stair lift, so we would have to curtain off the kitchen-diner for use as a downstairs bedroom, and she would need to use a commode for washing and toileting. I wasn't happy with this so decided to look for a suitable bungalow. In order to be able to snap up a suitable property, I cashed in all my investments to make myself a cash buyer, the idea then being to sell the semi at leisure. However I could not find anything suitable within my budget.
My mum then told me to cash in a £40,000 bond that she had, which I did, and this enabled me to buy a nice bungalow, and I had possession a week before mum was released from hospital (after nearly 3 months), which meant my mum had a proper bedroom and bathroom and allowed her to live her remaining years with dignity.
The solicitor dealing with the purchase asked about mum's contribution, so I checked with mum and she said "of course I won't want it back", and the solicitor duly noted it as a gift on a form, "source of funds" I believe he called it, something to do with money laundering regulations.
I then had nearly 5 years as a carer and it's by far the hardest job I have ever done. I tried to do too much at first and didn't get enough help and had a lot of problems with depression and sleep deprivation. I thought I would get a lot of help from my brothers who both lived less than a mile away, but one brother never lifted a finger, the other was more helpful and would move in for a week twice a year - for which mum paid him £400 a time - so I could have a holiday and would also come and be a sitter for an occasional evening or on a weekend so I could go out, but most of the time everything was left to me. Fortunately my firm have been superb and allowed me to work from home in the afternoons. Going to work in the mornings kept me sane.
Mum has now passed away, and within a few days, my brothers are saying the £40K was a loan, or should have been. Mum's remaining assets, about £38,000 are divided equally. When mum remade her will in 2012, she told me it was an equal division, and said "I've not given you any extra because I've already given you £40k for this house".
Now my brothers want me to sell the house to release the £40k they say should be part of the estate. Now that I've got my life back, I feel that I have earned every penny of the £40K.
But where do I stand legally?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
What evidence are your brothers relying on to show that it was a loan?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Clare. Their argument is that it is unfair that mum gave a large gift to just one of her three sons. They say that since it was just a verbal agreement between me and mum and there is no written evidence either way we have to assume it was a loan. I guess I should have got mum to sign something at the time but I had other priorities. I assume the source of funds form isn't evidence since mum didn't sign it?

Not at all - it is of some value and given the fact that you used the money to provide a suitable home for your mother and you were her main carer - and your brother was PIAD to care for her when he did so means that your brothers have little chance of convincing a court that it was a loan and not a way of thanking you for what you had done (the payment to your brother is very important there)
If you wanted to simply end the dispute then you could simply say that they can share the £38,000 between them and be done with it - it would be a better option for them than risking court
I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
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