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The Risk of Accepting Gifts

There is an old saying "never look a gift horse in the mouth". This is generally understood to mean that if somebody is giving you a gift, you should just accept it. You should be aware, however, that accepting gifts in certain circumstances could result in legal problems for the recipient of the gift. For example, accepting a gift from someone with mental health issues can result in a requirement to return the gift if it is challenged on the basis that the person making the gift did not have the mental capacity to make the gift.

This often arises when an elderly person makes a lavish gift during the period in which that elderly person is of questionable capacity. Even if the person is not of questionable capacity, it is prudent for someone who holds the power of attorney for the person making the gift, or who is otherwise in a fiduciary capacity, to be very wary of taking the gift. It is common for a family member who learns of a lavish gift in such circumstances to allege that the recipient of the gift took advantage of the elderly person.

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Merovitz Potechin LLP
300-1565 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1Z 8R1

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