Legal / Ethical Question
I'm curious what your opinions are on this, realizing that the 'legal' answer and the 'ethical' answer may or may not be different:
When older DS was born 18 years ago, my grandmother, bought two savings bonds. The bonds were titled 'Sonny' (his real name, clearly) with my name as 'POD' (payable on death), and the letter accompanying the gift clarifiying that the bonds were intended for Sonny's education. Since then, Sonny's dad and I got divorced, Grandmother passed away, and Sonny has come of age and is planning to head off to college in a few months (expensive private liberal arts college). The savings bonds were kept in my safe deposit box, and Ex, who is a financial professional, has been preparing Sonny's tax returns and paying any taxes (minimal) that may have been due on any capital gains from the bonds.
When Ex and I divorced, we agreed verbally (I can find nothing in writing) that he and I would each start a college fund for Sonny, investing a certain amount each month, and that we would split college expenses 50/50. No mention was made of the savings bonds. I saved specifically for Sonny as per our agreement; Ex didn't, planning to pay for college out of a combination of earnings and investments when the time came. He's a high-earning stock market 'player', and reasonably assumed he'd have a hefty portfolio. I don't know what has happened to Ex's investments other than that they got 'hammered'. Mine too ;-(
So now Ex is asking about the bonds...
I'm guessing that legally, the bonds belong to Sonny and that ethically, though probably not legally, those bonds should be used for Sonny's college.
My question is if ethically, those bonds should be used against my contribution (since they came from my side of the family), or 50/50 against the entire obligation?