Thank you for your excellent question.
If your uncle was competent and you did not unduly influence him into giving you the gift then you have no obligation to return the money. Whether it was his money or not, he obviously had control over the funds enough to give you the money. You do not have any obligation or liability to look into your uncle's financial matters to determine if they money that is given to you was his. You can legally accept the fact that when he gives you a gift that he as sufficient legal authority over the money to give it to you.
If your aunt wants the money back she can go after your Uncle for the money. However she has no legal claim against you for the money unless she can prove he was mentally incompetent or you unduly influenced him.
Further, you have no obligation to return any call from the attorney. if you choose to return the call then I suspect they are going to try and scare you into returning the money. If you agree to return the money then you could find yourself obligated through your agreement. Otherwise one would not be legally obligated here.
I cannot provide you with legal advise. I can provide you with information about the law related to your question. My answer, and any information that you can find online, should not take the place of having a detailed consultation with a lawyer in your area to advise you regarding your specific issues.
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My uncle called me to come to Ca. and see him and I am the only one in the family that has a connection. His sister (my mother) is still living in a nursing home in R.I. He loves her so much that he wanted me to have that gift. I had NO idea any of this was going to transpire when I went to CA. My 40 year old son came with me as my husband was away on business. I had NO idea this was not his....he had it in a satchel around his waist. I figured he sold all his gold and jewelry for money. He IS very ill, but was of sound mind. I was there for 3 days and we had GREAT conversations. He felt by giving me the gift that it would resolve him of his past mistakes with the family. I have never accepted anything like that before and only did to make this very ill man happy. His wife called me yelling and screaming that I have her money and that she needs it. She is also very sick and requires 24/7 care. But, her mind is still sharp. I cried for 3 days...not for the potential loss of the gift, but for where I am going to get the $ to return. I am very emotional about it. It also cost me 2,000 for all my expenses, but I don't expect anyone to pay for that. It was my choice. Not sure I could live with myself if I didn't return the money....do you think I could strike up a deal and pay perhaps $100 a month? Keep in mind that she lives in a multi multi million dollar home in Santa Barbara Ca.
I hear your pain and concern. However, the wife and attorney are manuplating you based on your fears and emotions..
You can agree to pay her any amount that you want at any timeframe because you have NO legal obligation to pay the money back. You are in essence giving the wife a gift of money back, you are not returning anything as it became yours when your uncle gave it to you.
Hope this helps. Please also remember that you can do what ever you wish and they may lie to you to get you do do more. The only way they force you to do something is to try and sue you. The suit would likely have to be in the state where you are living, not California.
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