So, Who Here Has Sued Their Parents?
April 11, 2008 12:19 PM Subscribe
Can I successfully sue my parents under estoppel? Is it even a possibility?
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (44 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Let me explain my situation:
- My parents have money and came into quite a bit of money. They own several houses in the city in which I live in that are being rented.
- They explained that if I stayed at home and went to a university within driving distance, graduated in under 4 years and maintained a 30 hour week job, that I would be entitled to this house
- I made significant sacrifices in regards to how I spent my money (savings, furniture) along with several study abroad opportunities, classes I'd rather have taken, etc. all made on reliance to this promise. Any large financial purchase I made was made with the consideration that I would be a home owner at the end of college.
- At the end of college they stated they had sold the house earlier in the year and could not afford to buy me a house or give me any sort of down payment. I was not happy, I was devastated, but such things happen and I was sure if my parents could really afford to they would. What could I do?
- A year later, I find out from a family member that my parents have outright lied to me. They had actually taken the money from the house and bought a vacation house elsewhere that I was not told of. As you can see, we're not a particularly close family.
- Again, they can spend their money however they wish, but I'm loaded with significant student loan debt that is not being offset with the equity of owning a home. I would never have gone to that particular college, let alone live at home, had I realized they would have a sudden change of heart. I made significant lifestyle changes on this promise.
A friend mentioned that I might be able to sue under estoppel and regain some of the money promised to me. I no longer care about the house, but receiving any money, even to ease the burden of the private student loans (which I had to take out as they would not pay for tuition and they made too much for me to qualify for subsidized loans).
Should I even approach a lawyer about this? I'm trying to be as unbiased and unemotional about evaluating this as possible. Disregard any relationship aspects of whether or not I should sue. I'll be evaluating if I ever want to talk to my parents or family after this on my own, and I fully realize how this could destroy any shred of a relationship I have with them.
You might also be wondering, rightfully so, what I did to piss them off. While I do not think it is particularly relevant, the answer I received from this is "our money is our own and we'd rather spend it elsewhere." Which is the response I got. I have never done anything (a fight, drug problems, problems with the law, etc.) that would cause this. I truly believe they've just been intoxicated with living the high life and would prefer that to being with their family.
So, what about my legal standing? Do I have an opportunity to recoup any of the money promised to me? This wasn't just a promised gift, but a promised gift set on conditions and which I relied on to make financial and career decisions. At the very least I would think I would be able to seek compensation for expenses incurred based on promissory estoppel if I can show that the expenses and money spent were directly related to the eventual purchase of a house. Thanks.