Why did my solicitor ask so many questions about gifting?
A series of short articles based around the members of a retired English teachers’ book club who coincidentally all have questions relating to gifting
The book club gets together every week to discuss the book they are all reading and, because there are a few railway buffs in the group, they are currently reading the Necropolis Railway, a murder mystery set in the heyday of steam railways. After the discussion and over coffee, the conversation turns to gifting.
Mary said, “I went to get some legal advice about making a gift recently but the solicitor asked an awful lot of questions. I thought it would be a case of going in, getting a few forms drawn up, signing them and then on our way”.
Pam said “that really reminds me of Gladys who used to teach at school about 20 years ago. She wanted to move in with her son, sell her bungalow, give him the proceeds and then he would build her a granny flat to live in. She went to the solicitor and I remember her being very irritated because they explained it wasn’t really that simple and that she really ought to put some documentation in place to protect herself. She was very old school and of the view that she could trust her son and that she didn’t need any of that faff”.
“Very sensible” said Mary, eyeing up the coffee cake.
“Ah well, you would think so wouldn’t you?” said Pam, “but it really didn’t go well for her at all”.
“Didn’t it?” asked Mary,
“surely she could trust her son?”. Pam said
“yes, her son maybe but while the granny flat was being built, he got together with a new partner. She and Gladys didn’t see eye to eye at all”.
“That could be awkward” said Mary.
“Yes”, said Pam, “it was more than awkward. She only went and moved her mother into the granny flat”.
“What happened to Gladys?” asked Mary, “surely she had some rights?”.
Pam said “that’s the problem, it was all very unclear. Because she just gave the money from her bungalow to her son, it looked just like a gift and because there weren’t any documents in place, she would have had a really difficult time showing the money was hers. In the end she didn’t have the stomach for the fight and went into Council sheltered accommodation. It was in the same village as she had lived in before but a far cry from her beautiful bungalow with a lovely view of the fields. She died a couple of years ago”.
“Ah” said Mary, “maybe I will pay a little bit more attention to the questions my solicitor is asking. “That sounds an awful way to end up”.
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