Make Your Intentions for a Financial Gift Known

November 14, 2014

by Michelle Perry Higgins


There are two schools of thought on whether parents should have a say in how a large financial gift to adult children should be spent. One school believes that a gift is a gift and that there should be no strings attached to the gift. The other believes that parents have every right to control the use of the gift, for example restricting it to a down-payment on a house.

I believe that the most important thing is to be clear and unequivocal to the child, as well as yourself, as to how the gift is to be treated. Whether or not the parent attaches conditions to the gift may depend on the maturity of the child or the attitude of the parent, among other things. However, if the parent is clear about their intent regarding the child’s use of the gift, there is less likely to be resentment or regret on the part of either the parent or the child.