Promises & Gifts Made Before Death
If someone makes a promise that they will leave part (or all) of their estate to a person but they do not do so (e.g. their estate passes in a different way, whether by Will or in accordance with the intestacy rules), then that person may have a claim in proprietary estoppel. A promise alone is not sufficient. The components of a claim are:
Someone must have made a promise, representation or assurance to the person making a claim (“the claimant”) that led the claimant to expect that they would be entitled to an interest in their property.
The claimant must be able to show that they relied on the promise, representation or assurance.
The claimant must be able to show that they have suffered detriment.
If these components are satisfied, the court has wide powers to make an order to correct any unfairness or injustice.
Please do get in touch if you would like advice in relation to making or defending a proprietary estoppel claim.
Deathbed gift claims (known as donatio mortis causa)
There are a number of specific criteria:
- The person making the gift must contemplate their impending death.
- The gift is conditional; it only takes effect if and when the contemplated death occurs. Until then, the person making the gift can change their mind.
- The person making the gift must pass something, e.g. the item or related documents, to the person receiving the gift.
These situations are uncommon and the law is complex. Please contact us to discuss your position, whether you are making or defending a deathbed gift claim.
If your relative or friend made a draft Will that includes you but they (or someone on their behalf) did not sign it, that Will is not valid. This is a difficult situation but, if they instructed a professional to prepare the Will, there may be something you can do. Please contact us to discuss your circumstances.
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