This is a question I was asked today regarding accepting gifts. The gift in question was a cash offer to the groom from a soon to be brother-in-law as a wedding gift. The brother-in-law expressed a desire that the money be spent on something solely for the groom. The groom is reluctant to accept the cash gift under those terms. He'd prefer that he and his new wife jointly decided for themselves how the money was spent. Marriage is after all a joint affair.
And so the question was asked: “should I accept a cash gift if it comes with strings attached”. (I am paraphrasing)
It is quite normal for a bride and groom to receive money as a wedding gift, especially from family members who recognize the bride and groom may have a lot of new expenses (new home and so on) and so money is helpful and very welcome. I don't know the people involved but I feel certain that the ‘strings' that came with this particular cash gift were merely words spoken in haste and that the ‘suggested purchase' wasn't going to be part of a legally binding contract.
I suggested to the gent who raised the question that he graciously accept the cash gift while saying he'd discuss how it would be spent with his new wife. I can't imagine he'd be backed into a corner regarding how he spends the money; not in this situation where it is the brides own brother giving the cash gift.
It would be normal for a parent who was giving a large amount of money to state the money is for a house, a car, a new baby nursery etc. What they are doing is not so much dictating how the cash is spent but are instead asking the bride and groom to buy the gift they themselves have chosen to give. And that I believe is reasonable. The parents wish to gift them a house – they are giving the couple a chance to choose that house. And so on.
If you are offered the money to buy a house and you'd rather spend it on shoes and cars I believe the decent thing to do would be to honestly express your intention. Let the person giving the cash gift decide if they want to give cash on those terms.
What are your thoughts and experiences re cash gifts that come with strings attached?