A friend of mine has received ~$250,000 over the years from his sister. He has never asked her for money, but he has been ill and Canada does not recognize Lyme's Disease as a disability for him to receive benefits. His sister offered to help him out.

Now there has been a falling out, and the sister is asking for the money back. There was no written agreement for repayment, and it was understood that this was a gift of one family member helping another.

Does the sister have any legal means to take this money back?

  • This isn't relevant, but an attempt at reconciliation might really benefit both parties in this situation. Perhaps after reconciling she may be less likely to demand the money back, and he'd also be more willing to give some back if he can.
    – TTT
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 22:05
  • This asks what the law permits, not what the person should do. It should not be closed as a RSLA. Commented Dec 12, 2022 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Does the sister have any legal course to demand this money back?

If you want true legal advice, then you should consult a lawyer over the advice of strangers.

As far as general financial advise goes though, my answer is probably not. Arrangements between family members are presumed to be non-contractural - that is, even if the brother agreed to repayment this is generally not enforceable.

Unless your friend specifically signed a contract agreeing to certain terms in order to receive his sister's money rebutting the non-contractural presumption, then the money is a gift and cannot be taken back. From your question, I can see no way that your sister could prove the money was anything other than a gift or had any terms.

As Grade 'Eh' Bacon has pointed out, stack exchange's law site will be able to answer your question better than we can.

  • Since this question was migrated, this answer could probably use a quick update. Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 14:00
  • 1
    @Iamnotyourlawyer looks ok to me
    – Dale M
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 21:53
  • 1
    Probably worth noting that even if there's a contract, unless it's made clear that the money is to be repaid, there's likely still no legal grounds for enforcing repayment.
    – jimsug
    Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 21:57

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