Accepting money from my in-laws?

posted 3 months ago in Finances
Post # 2
8171 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

parrotthead :  it would depend on the amount and if they are the type to gift with strings attached. If they’re going to use the “gift” as leverage then hard pass. 

Post # 3
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

My parents gifted us money when we were buying our house. They did not have a say in our decisions though. It helped us out a lot. I would accept it as long as there aren’t any strings attached. parrotthead :  

Post # 4
155 posts
Blushing bee

 I think it depends on the relatioship with the parents as well as what type of givers they are.  Both my husband and my own parents very graciously saved money so they could help all of their children purchase their first homes.  This was done completly out of love and had zero strings attached.  Both of our parents were in the financial position to do so but they obviously didn’t need to do something so incredible as help us.

If they are the type to hold a gift like this over your heads or feel like this gives them premission to be apart of the decision making then I would probably decline the money. 

I will say I wouldn’t frame it as “in laws”.  This is your husbands parents.  Would you be feeling the same way if it was from your own parents?  Maybe talk to your husband to get a sense of what he thinks. 

Congrats on your first home.  That is very exciting!

Post # 5
6860 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Even if it seems like there are no strings it might be wise to just keep it in savings (ie dont spend it!) until you know for sure. If something seems off later or the dreaded “well we gave you money for it” comes up you can just give it back. But I would accept it graciously if there are no major red flags.

Post # 6
5568 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2017

parrotthead :  this would depend on the relationship and my in-laws.

I won’t accept so much as a pizza from my mother (she ordered pizza and I paid) because she would hold it over my head until the day I died

But my father paid for our wedding because it was a true gift, he wouldn’t want anything in return, and he would never throw it in my face later

Make sure you know their true intentions and listen to what your husband has to say about it

Post # 7
2187 posts
Buzzing bee

parrotthead :  We turned it down when my in-laws made a similar offer. They had offered us an interest-free loan that we know they’d never let us pay back and we didn’t feel comfortable taking it. We didn’t need the money and we want to be financially independent.

I don’t think that’s always the right approach, but large gifts can come with strings attached even when there’s no intention of it. In our case, it became clear that my in-laws have a different idea about where and how much house we should have that we disagree with. Had we accepted the money, there would have been pressure to buy something that they would approve of, rather than what we prefer and works well for our life. It’s come up again with repeated offers of “loans” so that we can live the lifestyle they think we should and not the one we have chosen and can afford.

Post # 8
435 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

parrotthead :  So my in-laws do this, but at random times. I felt SO uncomfortable with this at first, to the point that my husband had to sit down with them. It was then that I finally understood why they kept handing us money because we had open communication about it. It’s their way of showing support for different things we are doing in our life and although they know we dont need it, they want to contribute. So I just now smile and say thank you whenever they hand us a card because I learned its their love language. I think if they do give you a gift and you feel uncomfortable that you should just talk to them about it and see what they say. It might feel awkward at first but its better to just be honest.

Post # 10
1295 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

We accept money from my parents, we do not typically accept money from my husband’s parents. Part of this is because my parents truly give with no hidden strings attached (they lay out any expectations very clearly upfront) and they are in a financial position to afford and enjoy doing it.

Neither is true for my husband’s parents, so we don’t ask for or accept money. Similarly they do not spend their money in a way we are comfortable with, so we do not lend them money either (we will pay for big ticket items for them as gifts – but not give cash). It’s a very different relationship.

I think you and your SO need to discuss what type of relationship you have with his parents and whether moeny gifts comes with “risks” to that relationship. 


Post # 12
2095 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Unless your inlaws have a history of using money as a form of control, I would graciously accept. My parents often give us money. I stock it all away for a rainy day (or if they need it one day!). It makes them feel good to give us gifts and we’ve had no issues whatsoever.

Post # 13
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - York, ME

parrotthead :  I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking it, but that’s just me.  Parents spend so much time and money raising their children, and it’s odd to me to see so many grown adults still taking from their parents.  A dinner every once in a while is one thing, but weddings, houses, cars, etc. seems like far too much. I’d much rather they put the money in their retirement account or go on a vacation.  I grew up without much money though, and my parents sacrificed a lot for my siblings and I.  I feel like now it’s their turn to enjoy their success, I am an adult and can handle my own because of everything they’ve done for me as a child.

At the end of the day though you both know the family dynamic well enough to decide whether or not this is a good idea.

Post # 14
412 posts
Helper bee

If it is truly a gift, no strings attached, I would take it.

I would also take a look into what the laws are in your state, just so you have piece of mind for yourself.

In Alberta, upon divorce, a gift from a third party is exempt property. As an example:

– House has $50,000 in equity;
– In-laws gifted their son $10,000
– House is in his name, but you are married.

He gets the first $10,000, and you each get $20,000. He ends up with $30,000, you end up with $20,000.

If the house was in joint names, by putting a gift from his parent into joint names he is deemed to have gifted half of that to the marriage, so he would get $5,000, and then you would each receive $22,500.

If you accept the gift, make sure you are aware of the consequences of how it is gifted (is it a gift to him or a gift to both of you?). You can evidence this by showing a gift letter, that shows the gift is meant for one party or both, or a cheque made out to one party or both.

There are a whole lot of other considerations if you sell that house etc. Sorry to put this in a frame of “if you separate” when buying a house is a very exciting step in your relationship. Obviously you aren’t worse off by accepting the gift, but I have had clients blindsided when they are told they don’t receive 50% of the equity because the other party’s parents paid the down payment, particularly when the gift from parents “freed up” other money, so they spent it on vacations etc. and they can’t get back the money they spent on Hawaii, but their ex partner is still getting his money.

Post # 15
2095 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

“Darling Husband and I have already discussed that if it is money, we won’t make a decision right then. So that will give us a chance to talk about the amount and the boundaries I would need to feel comfortable with. For example, if it’s a gift then it needs to be totally strings free.”

It sounds like you have issues with accepting this potential gift from your inlaws. To be frank, if I offered help with a house downpayment for my son and DIL (and we have previously had no issues regarding gifts, money, or boundaries) and they implied that they needed to “talk about how many boundaries they would need to feel comfortable” and asked me to certify that this was indeed no-strings attached money, (when strings were never expressed or implied in the first place), I would conclude that my offer was too fraught of a gift for them and probably not a good idea.

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