Can I Legally Keep My Special Needs Daughter’s Property?

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I live in PA and have a 23-year-old special needs daughter. I am her Rep Payee for her SSI and I am involved in a lease to own deal with a laptop computer from a rent to own business. The lease is in her name and I am making the payments. She brought the computer to my house and was leaving it because the woman she is living with keeps threatening to keep her computer. Last night she had the police call my house saying I have to return the computer to my daughter since it is in her name and has a lease to prove this. I told police that I am not returning the computer and it is staying right here. I also told police that my daughter is welcome to move back home and she can have it. I also said that I will return it to the rent to own store before it goes back to the house where she is living. Is it legal for me not to return the computer? I am looking out for her best interest of my daughter since I am her SSI payee. Do I also have the right to even return it to the rent to own business? The woman she is living with has a long theft record including identity theft.

Based on the information you provided, because the computer lease is in your daughter’s name, she is the rightful owner of the property pursuant to the terms of the lease agreement. If your daughter asked you to hold on to the computer for her, then you have the legal right to keep it until your daughter request for you to return the item. If you refuse to do so, as the payee, you will have to see if you are permitted to do so pursuant to the terms of the lease. If you have no property interest in the computer, then you will not be able to keep it without your daughter’s permission. In regard to the roommate (the woman your daughter lives with), based on the facts you provided, you do not have to give her the computer. Perhaps it may be best to contact the store to find out if there are any specific limitations on the rent-to-own agreement that is specific for your daughter’s situation.