Palmdale, CA asked in Civil Litigation and Small Claims for California

Q: I was given a cash gift. months later I was told aggressively to give it back.what can I do legally to stop this

no contract, nothing signed. cash was gift. we went to his bank & he wthdrw $ & handed it to me. when his financial sit has changed he got hostile & decided I should give it back

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, a gift is defined as a voluntary transfer of property from one person to another without expectation of payment or compensation. Once a gift is given, it becomes the property of the recipient. If there was no agreement or condition attached to the transfer of money indicating it was a loan or subject to repayment, then legally, it is considered a gift.

In your situation, since the cash was given to you without any written agreement or condition for repayment, it is recognized as a gift. The giver's change in financial situation or subsequent regret does not change the nature of the transaction from a gift to a loan or something that requires repayment. Therefore, you are not legally obligated to return the gift.

If you're being aggressively pursued to return the money, you have the right to refuse based on the nature of the transaction as a gift. If the situation escalates, you may consider seeking legal advice to explore options for protecting yourself, including but not limited to restraining orders if you feel threatened. It's important to communicate clearly and keep any evidence of the gift (such as messages or witness accounts) that support your claim.

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