Taxes? Legal Issues? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

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HomeStretch
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by HomeStretch »

Take grandpa’s advice... Cousin should consider accepting grandma’s gift to help her family and cash the check before grandma puts a stop payment on it. Perhaps this is grandma’s way of trying to heal the rift. Absolutely send a thank you note. If grandma deducts the gift from cousin’s share, if any, of any will bequest, so be it.
makingmistakes
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by makingmistakes »

JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:12 am There are no tax implications for the receiver.

I must be the crazy one. My thought is I would never take money from someone who treated me and my family that way. Maybe if she apologized. Then again this is Bogleheads. If someone offered $20 to people here to spit on the them we would see a lot of posts titled “$20 windfall, invest or payoff mortgage ?”
Did the original post get some info deleted? I see an edit about an interracial marriage, but no indication of what the rift was over. Was the interracial marriage what caused Grandma to cut off the relationship?
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by Sandtrap »

HomeStretch wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:35 am Take grandpa’s advice... Cousin should consider accepting grandma’s gift to help her family and cash the check before grandma puts a stop payment on it. Perhaps this is grandma’s way of trying to heal the rift. Absolutely send a thank you note. If grandma deducts the gift from cousin’s share, if any, of any will bequest, so be it.
+1
There is an old saying, "pride goeth before the fall".
An elder mentor once told me, "don't take away the opportunity for others to be grateful, benevolent, etc. . . . and be appreciative in return."

Simple without old or new "baggage" is a good thing.
No taxes or legal issues, at this point in time.
So, at this point in time.
Accept the gift.

Another saying. . . "don't look a gift horse in the mouth." . . . "bite the hand that feeds you. . "
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White Coat Investor
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by White Coat Investor »

Zillions wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:59 pm CLARIFICATION: My cousin's husband is Asian, not black. I am so sorry, I did not intend to make this about race relations. I only mentioned that she is an inter-racial marriage to give some background to the situation.

-------------------------

My cousin was cut off by our grandparents. She's persona non grata and Grandma even sent her a nasty letter several years ago, telling her she's been disinherited.

My cousin's husband lost his job in March and in April, a large (high 5 figures) check arrived in the mail, made out to cousin. The memo clearly stated "(COUSIN'S LAST NAME) FAMILY STARVATION PREVENTION FUND" (in caps) written in Grandma's distinctive handwriting and signed & dated by her. When cousin called our grandfather, he confirmed that the check was "not a joke" as "Nana does not joke" and that she had sent it out after learning - through another cousin - that Cousin was in the danger of losing her home. He further stated that she should keep the money (the check was drawn on their joint account). Grandma refused to talk to Cousin on the phone.

Cousin has not cashed this check. They are living off their savings and she doesn't know what to do. What would you advice her? BTW, although very elderly, my grandmother is physically & mentally healthy & alert and was in full possession of her senses when she sent this large check out to a granddaughter she has not spoken to for over 10 years and refuses to speak to even today!
No taxes due to the recipient and probably none to grandma unless she has an estate tax problem. Grandma will have to file a gift tax return though.

I'd cash it. If it is not needed now, leave it in the bank account for a few months or a few years. If it becomes needed at some point, use it. If it still isn't needed, pay it forward to other family members. And send a thank you note.
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Re: Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by White Coat Investor »

bottlecap wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 9:02 pm However, who knows what the giver may later claim it is? Seems clear it is intended as a gift, but that doesn't prevent later battles, legal or otherwise.
Who cares? They're already estranged. What is she going to do, not talk to her for a decade? Grandma certainly won't have a legal leg to stand on without any sort of contract.
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mouses
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Re: Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by mouses »

jibantik wrote: Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:39 pm Cash it and send a thank you note with a nice big family photo attached.
My plan also, but send the note and family photo after the check has cleared, in case it pisses grandma off and she tries to stop payment.
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by oldfort »

JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:12 am There are no tax implications for the receiver.

I must be the crazy one. My thought is I would never take money from someone who treated me and my family that way. Maybe if she apologized. Then again this is Bogleheads. If someone offered $20 to people here to spit on the them we would see a lot of posts titled “$20 windfall, invest or payoff mortgage ?”
You're the crazy one. We're talking about $75k not $20.
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ResearchMed
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by ResearchMed »

oldfort wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:46 am
JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:12 am There are no tax implications for the receiver.

I must be the crazy one. My thought is I would never take money from someone who treated me and my family that way. Maybe if she apologized. Then again this is Bogleheads. If someone offered $20 to people here to spit on the them we would see a lot of posts titled “$20 windfall, invest or payoff mortgage ?”
You're the crazy one. We're talking about $75k not $20.
Agreed.

Also, JonnyDVM... I'd be vaguely inclined to consider this check (and yes, despite the, er, non-cordial "payee" line, original as it may be!) as Grandma's awkward and perhaps reluctant way of apologizing, without ever actually saying so.

Perhaps the check was sent only because of some sense of guilt ("we've got so much, and they might not be able to afford necessities, and they *are* family, after all", etc.), but that's a mighty generous check for "guilt only".
I'd think it also speaks to either/both of genuinely wanting to help or deep inside realizing that she does care about relatives (in this case, at least the blood relative, but that's sufficient in this case).
The estrangement could have been eating away at her; she could be having increasing regrets as she gets older; etc.

My only concern about any legal or tax issues is:
1) NO tax issues to recipient;
2) The post above about someone much later noticing the check and wanting it accounted for somehow, might worry me vaguely. So, that *gentle* thank you note to Grandma? I'd just scan a photo of it and file it away, as contemporaneous if informal "evidence". No harm if not needed.
(But it is very unlikely to cause trouble, unless Grandma does indeed leave the estranged relative with some inheritance after all... and this check suggests that that is not totally out of the question after all.)

RM
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Re: TAXES? LEGAL ISSUES? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by OAG »

I do not see the problem. Just cash the check. Cousin does not have to spend it. Just put the cash someplace secure (like a bank or investment account). Just sit on it.
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Re: Taxes? Legal Issues? Grandmother sent large check to Cousin she's estranged from

Post by LadyGeek »

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