Manassas, VA asked in Tax Law and Civil Litigation for Maryland

Q: Could someone regret his/her gift and take it back?

Someone gives a certain amount of cash as a gift unconditionally and voluntary*, but later he regrets and asks the receiver to return it. The receiver initially, as a courtesy shows willingness to return it**, but later he changes his mind due to very rude attitude of gift's giver. He wants to keep the gift now.

What does the law say? Could the receiver keep the gift? Does the law ask the receiver to return the gift?

* There is an official document in the bank

** There is a video tape

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: A gift is a gift, unconditional and complete upon transfer to the recipient. There are no "take-backs." If the giver now claims it was a loan, then it's a dispute of fact. Your word versus theirs, plus any evidence that supports your claim that it was a gift and not a loan. You keep the money, and the ball is in the other person's court to file suit for the money back. You can defend on the basis it was a gift. A judge will decide who is telling the truth.

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