Grandchildren have to repay grandma’s savings

Social assistance providers step in when someone in old age cannot pay for their care on their own. But the state can also demand money back from relatives that they have received to build up capital. This confirms a current judgment.

Many grandparents give generous pocket money to their grandchildren.

KLittle gifts of money from the grandmother to the grandson so that he can “finance his driving license” are common in many families. Now the higher regional court in Celle is shaking such constructions.

According to a ruling on Thursday, regular payments to family members to build up capital should be reclaimed if the giver himself is dependent on state benefits. In such cases, the law stipulates that the claim for repayment is transferred to the social assistance provider (Az. 6 U 76/19).

Basically, donations according to Section 534 of the Civil Code can only be revoked or reclaimed in exceptional cases: If the donor becomes penniless and donations previously made do not correspond to a moral obligation or a consideration to be taken of decency. The Senate precisely denied such a “privileged donation”.

In the original case, a grandmother opened a 25-year savings account for her two grandchildren and paid 50 euros every month for 11 and 9 years respectively. The woman’s pension was 1,250 euros. When she had to go to a care facility, the payments had already stopped. She could not pay the proportionate cost of her accommodation. The welfare agency stepped in and sued the grandchildren for the amounts they had paid in over the past few years.

According to the judgment, the regularity and the purpose of building up capital speak against the usual “pocket money”. For the now for the repayment claim it does not matter whether it was foreseeable for the grandmother at the beginning of the payments that she would later need care, explained the judges. The decision is not yet final. The defendant grandchildren can still file a non-admission complaint with the Federal Court of Justice.