Gifts Cannot be Forced

October 18, 2012

Towbin v. Towbin reminds us that one cannot be compelled to give someone a gift. The facts here involve a son's attempt to compel his parents to complete the transaction of giving a trust he controlled a valuable apartment which his parents owned and in which they lived. The lawsuit sought to force his parents to complete the transaction they had started and thought had completed, evict them, and award him $12 million in damages.

The court dismissed the case, refusing to compel the completion of the gift, stating that because the transaction had not been properly completed, notwithstanding the intention of plaintiff's parents, the gift was never finalized and the son had no basis for his claims.