When a group of Christians decide to form and Church and one and half years later the Church still only has a name but no building. The memebers have been tithing weekly and yet the money just sits in the account because the Church has no type of overhead because they are operating out of another Church and the member's home for meetings and bible study for free. When members decide to leave (not all but some) can they legal get the money (tithes) back from the Church's account?
Country relating to Question: United StatesState (if USA): MarylandWhat have you tried so far?: Requested the return of money from the Pastor who denied the request.
Absents concerns of Fraud or misrepresentation, the tithe is considered a gift which means that the person providing the title has the intent to voluntary relinquish the money without any expectation of any benefit.To that extent, it is unlikely that the members would have a strong claim to have the money returned because the tithe by its very nature as a gift suggests that the donor has no expectation that the money will be returned.On the other hand, if the members believe that the money was provided based upon misrepresentation or fraud, the members may contact the local prosecutor to request an investigation of the funds and the church.Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Is this the case if the intention was to use the tithes to buy or lease a building to worship? The leaders have not attempt to search for a new place in the year and half. The tithes are supposed to be for the upkeep of the building and for expenses for which there are none.
Not necessarily because this facts may suggest some type of fraud or misrepresentation considering that there is no building, no lease, and accordingly no maintenance. It may be a good idea for your group to consider an audit of the funds and retain a local attorney to provide a comprehensive review of the facts and law.
Knowledgeable and Experienced Attorney-Licensed in Illinois
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).