I have this gift that was given to me as a present for my birthday, but was informed that is not mine permanently but to keep until my friend wants it back. What is that kind of gift called?

  • I'm no lawyer, but if you haven't signed any agreement or contract then the "gift" is yours to keep. Unless we are talking about a substantial piece of property; e.g. an apartment can be loaned, but you will never be its owner. But if it's an electric toaster, well... I'd keep that and chuck away the "friend". :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 14:25
  • It's a loaner (or possibly stolen property which needs to chill for a bit). Often the terms of the loan are just the right of first refusal if the person decides they want to get rid of it. @Mari-LouA There's nothing wrong with the idea, it's quite a common practice. It may make perfectly good sense if, say, one person can carry it on insurance, but the other can't, or if there is still a lien on it. I might give someone a good guitar if they are taking lessons, conditional on them continuing the lessons, but they can't go hock the thing. Think of it as paying it forward, with stipulations.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jun 24, 2016 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


This is often referred to as a permanent loan

A form of loan agreement in which an individual, trust, or company loans artwork or other objects to a museum for an extended period of time. The loan agreement may stipulate that the museum must display the loaned artwork in a specific area of the museum, that the artwork is to be displayed as part of an exhibition, or that the artwork is not to be shown in a touring exhibition.

Despite the word permanent in this phrase, such loans are not necessarily that:

Accepting artwork under a permanent loan does put a museum at a risk, however. While the word “permanent” is used to describe the time period of the loan, objects loaned under this sort of agreement can still be withdrawn at any time. For example, the heirs of a wealthy collector may request a painting be returned.

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