I just mailed a check for $8,000 to a dear relative that is truly in need of funds. She is almost 70 and her son is 40.
She and her adult son have gone through all their savings since her son quit his job (a year ago) with the federal government because of ethics (he had the ethics and was a whistle-blower). He was their sole income provider. She has a very small retirement pension (from 25 years working as an officer at a bank) and SS, but had to let her insurance lapse because of lack of funds for premiums. His insurance stopped when he quit the job, but his life-saving medications had to continue and are very expensive (genetic disease). His health (heart problems and spinal deformity) prevents him from doing any type of heavy labor, he would if he could. They have always cared for each other.
They live very frugally and he has been applying non-stop for jobs in his field (doctorate-level biological science). He has high hopes for his most recent applications. These are good people and not slouches.
We talk to each other a couple of times a week (she lives in another city, hours away). I called her yesterday to chat and she broke down and detailed me of their situation (facing eviction). She'd given me no clue as to how bad things were prior to this conversation. She told me they were planning on selling their car to keep them afloat, but I know they couldn't get enough for it to cover themselves for a month (older vehicle). She'd been selling anything the had (books, old clothes, etc.) to bring in any amount of money. She never asked for a thing, but wanted to let me know that they would probably be stopping their phone service and she felt she had to be honest with me about what was going on.
I told her we would give her a loan, to be re-paid whenever they can. We have the money and this will have no financial impact on us whatsoever. We are doing this because we love them and this is what you do, if you can and want to, for those that you love.
She didn't want to accept it and was crying, saying they hated that this was happening (well, duh) and finally agreed to the loan.
Then she started in about wanting to send us copies of their monthly bills and rent contract (they share a very small, 2 bedroom apartment) so we'd know where every penny of the money was going. Then, she says she wants us to agree to a contract regarding the loan so that there won't be any bad feeling about it.
We don't want any of that! We're doing this because we care for them and can do this. If they pay us back, fine. If they can't (or, need more money in the future if employment doesn't happen soon), that's fine, too. We are giving them the money with no real thoughts as to getting any of it back.
They wouldn't have accepted the money if we'd said they could just have it, so saying it is a loan is the only way I could get them to agree.
The check is going out to them today and they should receive it tomorrow.
She is insisting on our signing a contract (she even wants to have it notarized!) so that we can have legal recourse should they be unable to re-pay the loan. It's crazy. As we don't honestly expect to see the money back (I didn't say that to her), why does she think we'd go to court over it???
We don't want to sign any contract. We don't want them to sign any contract. We're doing this because we can and because we want to. Can't that be enough?