Does a sibling have any rights to gifts my mother gave me years ago?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does a sibling have any rights to gifts my mother gave me years ago?

My mother is still living . She is 90 years old and living in a memory care unit. My
younger sister asked me to make a list of all the items my mother gave to me over
the span of my life. I’m 62 years old. I told her my sister no.

Does my sister have any legal rights to gifts my mother gave me?

I’m baffled why she wants a list.

Asked on January 5, 2017 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, she does not have any right to this--and, in fact, your mother would have no right to them, either, assuming she was mentally competent. A gift once given cannot be ungiven; it belongs to the receipient, and the giver has no rights to it. It is possible that your younger sibling believes that some of these gifts, especially ones given more recently (when your mother was suffering or starting to suffer some cognitive impairment), were not "gifts" but rather things you took without permission. It's also possible that if your mother has a will, it states that you will inherit $X less the value of the gifts you have already received, which would make this list relevant.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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