Without an express agreement, must a gift of money be paid to an estate?

UPDATED: Jan 15, 2014

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Without an express agreement, must a gift of money be paid to an estate?

My grandpa recently passed away. My aunt, the executor, sent me through the lawyer’s to pay $11,000 to the estate account. My grandpa had bought my house for me and I was paying $400 a month to pay back what he had paid on the house. Recently, since he passed, I have not paid. For one thing I have not had the money, plus I was not sure if I should. since we had no real agreement and nothing on paper; nothing in the Will says that I need to. Now they want me to sign a promissory note. hat should I do?

Asked on January 15, 2014 under Estate Planning, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were repaying the money, it was not a gift: it was a loan.  A loan owed to a deceased becomes a loan owed to the estate; the estate could sue you for the money you owed your grandfather. An oral loan agreement is enforceable as a general matter, but there are some exceptions or limitations. For $11,000, it  would be worthwhile for you to consult with an attorney to discuss the matter in detail, to see if under the specific facts of your case, there would be some good defense to payment.

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