​Is ​a promise or a gift made before death enforceable?

In some cases, a promise made by a person before death can be enforceable, even if that promise is not provided for in a will. This is known legally as “proprietary estoppel”.

To establish this type of claim there must be:
Party A must assure Party B that Party B will obtain a benefit after Party A dies 

Party B must reasonably rely on Party A’s representation or assurance 


Party B must incur a detriment as a result of his reliance on Party A’s representation or assurance. 

Often, this includes providing care for the person before they die, or spending money on a property. 

There are also gifts made shortly before death, known as “deathbed gifts". There are four conditions which must exist for a gift to qualify as a deathbed gift and be enforceable:

  • Gift must be made when the donor believes he/she is going to die.
  • Gift must be made on the condition that the donor dies.
  • Donor must part with the gift in some way.
  • Gift must be capable of being given away in this manner.

If you have been promised an inheritance, or think you may have received a deathbed gift, but the executors will not recognise it, please get in touch and we may be able to assist.

Want to know more, contact Martyn Trenerry or read below.


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