Can I Enforce a Promise?

If someone made a promise to you before they died, such as giving you a property, this may be enforceable even if they didn’t include the promise in their Will.

A Will is supposed to reflect someone’s wishes truthfully, so if promises were made outside of this, it could bring the validity of their Will into question. But it can also lead to disputes between the beneficiaries and the person who was made a promise.

This can put you in an awkward situation, and we understand that you might be unsure where you stand. Our expert Contentious Probate Lawyers could help you if you’ve been made a promise that hasn’t been fulfilled. Get in touch today for a free initial case assessment.

Call us on 0808 239 4634 or request a callback

There are a few different ways you can claim an interest in a property because of a promise made to you.

But to do so, you’ll need to prove:

  • That the person who died promised to give you an interest in a specific property
  • You relied on that promise
  • You suffered detriment because you relied on the promise
  • It’s unfair of the Estate to not honour the promise made by the person who died when they were alive

If your promise was left out of the Will because of the negligence of their Solicitor or Will writer, then it might be possible to make a Professional Negligence claim instead. One of our expert Lawyers will be happy to discuss the best option for you.

How do I Prove Detriment?

Detriment is when you are harmed or damaged by something. In this case, some examples of detriment accepted by the Court are:

  • Giving up work and moving to another area
  • Working for a reduced wage in a family business or foregoing other business opportunities or an alternative, lucrative career
  • Running errands, collecting prescriptions, providing basic nursing care and gardening
  • Agreeing to go to college and learning necessary skills
  • Moving and making improvements to a property

All of the above demonstrate to the Court that you relied on the promise made to you and have had to make sacrifices.

What if I was Promised a Gift?

Sometimes people can promise a gift to someone right before their death, and this is known as a ‘deathbed gift’.

But to be legally valid, the deathbed gift has to meet the following criteria:

  • The person making the gift must have done so when they thought they were going to die
  • The gift must be made on the condition that the person actually dies
  • The person making the gift must part with it in some way
  • It must be possible for the gift to be given away in the way suggested by the person who is dying
  • The person making the gift must have had the mental capacity to understand the nature of the gift they were promising

Proving that someone promised you a deathbed gift can be challenging and this can often lead to disputes between family members.

If you were the only one to witness the person promising you the deathbed gift, it can be difficult to establish the facts, and others might question the reliability of your witness testimony.

Help from a Contentious Probate Lawyer

We understand that situations like these are complex, and you’ll need to build a strong case with evidence to prove that you’re entitled to the gift or asset promised to you.

If you were made a promise before someone died that’s not reflected in their Will, call now to talk about your next steps.

For free initial case assessment call our Contentious Probate Solicitors

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