If I’m moving and taking all furniture and belongings that my parents have bought me, what precautions should I take to avoid a lawsuit?

UPDATED: Jul 31, 2012

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If I’m moving and taking all furniture and belongings that my parents have bought me, what precautions should I take to avoid a lawsuit?

My parents do not agree with the relationship I am currently in due to racial reasons. When they found out about my relationship 2 years ago, they took me to court for a restraining order that was eventually thrown out because they were just trying to prevent me from getting my belongings. This is the issue Im moving to live with my boyfriend in another state. The apartment I currently live in is being paid for by my parents but the lease is in my name and my brothers name. They have bought my furniture, TV, cable, etc. I also have 2 dogs that they watch during the day but they are both mine.

Asked on July 31, 2012 under Business Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If your parents bought the furniture, it is their furniture, not yours, unless you can show a clear intention on their part to have given or gifted the furniture to you. If you cannot show that, if you take it, you will be committing theft and could be sued and/or face criminal liability.

2) If you leave before the lease is up, you will be in breach of lease and could be sued by the landlord, if your parents stop paying and your brother does not step up to pay; and if your brother (who's on the lease) steps up to pay, he could sue you for the liability (costs) you caused him to incur.

You should wait until the lease is up, unless you find someone to sublet or take it over from you. You should not bring any belongings they bought you unless you have documentary evidence (e.g. a card, letter, email, text message, etc.) that they were giving it to you. Otherwise, you will be setting yourself up to possibly be sued.

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