If someone gave you something 2-1/2 yrs ago, are you obligated to give it back? 25 Answers as of February 13, 2013

A family member gave my husband and I a headboard and footboard at a time when we had nothing, my husband has since died and now this family member (his) wants the items back because she recently bought a mattress and box springs and needs my headboard and footboard back, am I obligated to give it back to her?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
If it was a gift, you don't have to give it back. If it was a loan you do.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/13/2013
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal
Law Offices of Sandeep G. Agarwal | Sandeep G. Agarwal
Technically, it appears to be a gift which they gave you out of the goodness of their heart. Legally speaking, you are probably not obligated to give it back. Morally speaking, and living with that on your conscience is a whole different matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
Law Office of Christian Menard
Law Office of Christian Menard | Christian Menard
Whether you have to give the headboard and footboard back would all depend on the nature of the initial transaction. If it was given outright as a gift, they belong to you. If the were given as a loan until you could get your own, then you need to give them back.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/13/2013
S. Joseph Schramm | Joseph Schramm
Unless some contingency was attached to the transaction, like the person saying "I'm loaning this to you" or "You can keep this as long as you two are married, but don't throw it out if you don't want because I want it back" it would probably be seen as a gift. Consequently, you would not be obligated to return it.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 2/12/2013
Law Office of Lisa Hurtado McDonnell | Lisa Hurtado McDonnell
No, it was a gift and you do pt have to return a gift.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 2/12/2013
    Henry Lebensbaum | Henry Lebensbaum
    If it was a gift then you are not required to return it.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Magnuson Lowell P.S.
    Magnuson Lowell P.S. | Richard S. Lowell
    The simple answer is: if the items were a gift, you do not have to return them. If the items were a loan, you do.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S.
    Wayne J. Wimer, Inc. P.S. | Wayne J. Wimer
    The simple answer is that if it was intended as a gift, then you don't have to give it back. If it was intended as a loan, then the "owner" could demand its return. If you have anything in written form (including an e-mail) that says it is a gift, that should suffice as proof of intent.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    From the information given my answer would be no. It sounds like it was a gift to you and your husband - a marital gift. If, however, it was a loan to the two of you until you guys got on your feet, then the family could expect to receive it back.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Law Offices of Benjamin D. Pelton | Benjamin D. Pelton
    If it was a gift you don't have to return it. If it was a loan you do. What was the intent of the parties?
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    David F. Stoddard
    David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
    Not if it as a gift. Once a gift is made, it becomes the property of the recipient.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If it was a gift, you do not have to give it back.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
    James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
    It depends on whether they intended to give it to you as a gift at the time they gave it. If they intended it to be a gift and not on loan to you, than it is yours. From the simple fact they want it back, though, it sounds like they intended for you to borrow it.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    John Russo | John Russo
    Only you know if they gave it to you only allowed you to borrow it.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    No, you are not obliged. A gift is a gift and it is your property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    LAW OFFICE OF ANNE B. HOWARD | Anne B. Howard
    No it was a gift but maybe not worth fighting over.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It depends upon the terms when you received it. It seems petty of the other party wanting it back and, it may be best if you cut your losses.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
    Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
    There is a difference between a gift and a loan. If you truly believe that it was a gift, then it is yours. If it was a loan to help you out during a hard time, then it is a loan and you should give it back.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    No, a gift is a gift. Returning the items might help keep the peace though.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Only if it was loaned. If it was a gift, no.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    If the items were given, not loaned, then the gift transferred all rights to possession.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    No, unless there was an agreement to the contrary, a gift transfers title on delivery. The donor has no right to demand the return.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/12/2013
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    No you are not obligated to give it back. It appears it was a gift and you were a part of that gift. Gifts can be asked back, but you both accepted, took possession, it is yours. Sorry for your loss and a cold hearted family member.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/12/2013
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney