Do I have to pay back the proceeds made from the sale of a gift?

Question Details: My ex partner gifted me a car to trade-in for a new one. The relationship has now ended, and he is seeking to recover the value of the gift. Am I legally obligated to repay him?

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Answers by Lawyers

Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley

No, if the car was given to you unconditionally and clearly on the basis that it was to be a "gift", then you will not be legally obligated to repay your ex-partner.

New Zealand law says that for there to be a valid gift three things are necessary: the giver (your ex) has to express their intention to make the gift; the receiver (you) has to agree to accept the gift; and the gift (the car) has to be actually transferred into your control.

Your ex-partner must have given the car to you on an unconditional basis for the gift to be complete. That means if there were any conditions on the gift that you haven't fulfilled, you will have to repay him.

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