“Mother, I came as soon as you called. Is everything all right?”

“Thank you for coming so quickly, David. You’ve always been a good son.”

Mildred lowered herself carefully into her favorite chair. Her arthritis was beginning to slow her considerably.

“David, I’ve lived in this house by myself ever since Dad died 15 years ago. Nothing was too difficult for me then. But now the arthritis is making it very difficult for me to move around. I’ve made a decision. I will be moving into an apartment in a seniors’ residence. Could you take care of the house for me?”

David hugged his mother.

“Mother I would do anything for you. Not to worry. Put the house in my name, I will move in, pay you rent, and then when the market has moved up again, I will sell it and give you the proceeds from the sale.”

Mildred looked relieved. “Thank you for your help. By the way, how’s my granddaughter?”

David’s face contorted into a grimace. “We’ve never given up hope that one day she will pull herself together. Although hope is running out. She’s almost 30. Right now she’s living from hand to mouth.”

Two years later, David sold the house and put the money in an account under his name.

Shortly after, he died of cancer.

When Mildred had her daughter-in-law drive her to the bank to withdraw the proceeds of the house sale, there was nothing to withdraw.

The bank manager explained. “I’m sorry Mildred, but your granddaughter Alice emptied the account.”

Mildred phoned Alice. “There must be some mistake, dear. You took money that belonged to me.”

“Sorry, grandmother, there was no mistake. That money belongs to me.”

Mildred was in a state of shock. She had to sue her own granddaughter.

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In court, she painfully got up to plead her case. “Your honor, the $29,422 that was in that account belongs to me. David was holding that money in trust for me. From 1959 to the day the house was sold I paid the mortgage. I paid the $5,000 outstanding mortgage and David paid me back from the proceeds of the sale. David paid me rent for living in the house. David had no financial or other interest in the property. He was helping his mother. The money belongs to me.”

The granddaughter tossed her straggly hair back defiantly. “Your honor, my grandmother sold her interest in the house to my father. The land transfer affidavit indicates that she sold the house to him for $5,000. Now that he is dead she wants the money back. The money is mine.”

Should Mildred get the money back? You! Be the Judge. Then look below for the decision.


“You must pay your grandmother, Alice,” ruled the court. The judge found that there was no evidence that Mildred ever intended to give the house to David as a gift. He was holding the property in trust for her. Mildred is the rightful owner of the money in the bank account.