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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
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Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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10 years ago my brother gave me $15,000 for the use of driving

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10 years ago my brother gave me $15,000 for the use of driving him to work and taking him out to places on the weekend. During this time he did not pay anything towards the running cost of the vehicle.

I have a letter which he sign saying he gave me the money in good will of using the vehicle for going to work and weekends.He did say in the letter that I did not have to pay him back.

Now he is on a Disability Pension and wants the money back. If I could help him out I would but I have no job due to sickness and also no money .I live in Queensland and he lives in Adelaide.

A court will only order you to repay your brother if he can satisfy the court the money was paid as a loan and not a gift.

If you have a letter from him acknowledging that the money was paid in payment for you driving him around in your car or lending him your car for a period, then a court is unlikely to treat the money as a loan and so will not order you to pay your brother back.

If you do not have the money then even if the court did decide the money was a loan, the court would likely only order to repay in by installments that it considered reasonable in the circumstances. Absent any agreed repayment terms a court is unlikely to order you to simply repay such a sum as a lump payment.

I would suggest you write to him and explain:

1. that you understood the money was intended as either payment for all the driving and use of your car and was not a loan, and

2. in any event you don't have the means to send him money at moment due to your own financial situation, then explain that you have no job , money, and health have problems.

Hopefully he will accept your explanation, but in any event, retain a copy of the letter as it may help convince a court, if necessary, that you genuinely did not regard the payment as a loan and are in no position to repay such a sum.

I trust the above assists.

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Thank you and good luck.

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