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Do I have to pay back money which was a gift? - I'm being sued. Help please.

Tallahassee, FL |

I was given a gift of $800 by an uncle whilst I graduated. Now 3 months on, I got called by my uncle stating that he wants the money back as it was a loan. Yesterday I received a letter from his lawyer saying that I owe $2000.

Obviously I have nothing in writing as it was a family member. The problem I have is I can't prove it wasn't a loan. What can I do here? Am I able to ask for proof from his lawyer?

My main concern is how I can prove this to the lawyer. I have been told in the letter that I have 14 days to pay it or face action in court. Please help me, i'm stressed and confused.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

What were the terms? Was it a graduation gift? The uncle has to prove that loan. Did you keep the gift card? Memorabilia from your graduation? A picture of you and your uncle at that time? You need to immediately pull together the evidence that it was a loan.

Hire counsel.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for your advice Mr Brinkmeier. Basically, I was just given it as I graduated. There was no terms, and there no expectancy to pay it back. I have no papers. My uncle and I fell out over a family disagreement and he want's it back. The reason I was given the gift was due to my uncle coming in to money, there was no prior agreement or expectancy of getting a gift. As you can imagine, as a graduate I do not have the money to hire counsel to represent my claim.

Posted

Your uncle will have the burden of proving that this was a loan and only when he does so successfully will you have to rebut with proof of a gift. Your uncle will also have to prove the amount. Oral agreements are enforceable in Florida, subject to certain affirmative defenses. You are able to ask the lawyer for proof, but you are also able to discuss the issue with your uncle and try to come to some sort of resolution without and before a lawsuit is filed.

This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship and is just my opinion based upon the limited facts presented.

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Posted

Thankyou Ms. Fein. The problem is how can I prevent the lawyer taking further action?? What evidence should I detail in the response?

Posted

Ironically, it may now be YOU that has a legal action against both the lawyer and your uncle. Unless my math is in error a "loan" of 800, with a repayment in 90 days, yields an interest rate in excess of 18% and is usurious. This would likely violate the FDCPA and the FCCPA and subject both of them to legal action where they would have to pay you $1,000.00, plus actual damages and attorney's fee you incur.

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Posted

You do not need to prove anything to the lawyer. The letter is designed to scare you into paying or entering into negotiations. If there is no evidence one way or the other, the lawyer will likely back-out from representing your uncle after their attempt to rattle your cage has failed.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.

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