Promise or Gift Before Death

Can a gift made before death be challenged?

It sometimes happens that a person makes a significant gift prior to their death. A beneficiary who receives less, or nothing, as a result, may want to challenge the gift.

Services also offered in

There are a number of ways to challenge a gift made before death, including:

  • Mental Capacity - If a person was not of sound mind when making the gift, the gift can be challenged.  Evidence will need to be produced to show this, and we can advise you on exactly what you will need and how to obtain it.
  • Undue Influence - If a person made the gift as a result of coercion or pressure from another, then the gift can be challenged. Again evidence will be needed, and we can advise you on exactly what you will need and how to obtain it.
  • Attorney acting outside of powers - There are instances where a person has power of attorney over another and makes gifts.  Attorneys only have the power to make small gifts to charity or birthday or seasonal gifts of a similar value to those made by the person concerned when they had capacity.

If more substantial gifts are made, without the approval of the court, they can be challenged.

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.

Contested Wills Enquiry

Fill out the form and a member of our team will get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Mullis & Peake will use the information you provide in this form in accordance with our privacy policy. With your consent, we may from time to time send you general updates by email or post that we think you will find of interest.This includes notification of upcoming event and updates or alerts containing relevant legal news. You can update your preferences at any time and will be able to easily unsubscribe from anything that you do not wish to receive.

Call us now for contested Will support

Our latest insights

Charity & Fundraising, Mullis & Peake
London Legal Walk 2022
Jun 29, 2022
Legal, Residential Property, Lease Extension, Leasehold Enfranchisement
Update on leasehold reform and ground rents
Jun 29, 2022
Legal, Residential Property
Buying your first home – what to expect
Jun 28, 2022
Movers & Shakers, Mullis & Peake
Above and Beyond June 2022
Jun 28, 2022
Movers & Shakers, Mullis & Peake
Brentwood Strawberry Fayre
Jun 22, 2022
Charity & Fundraising, Mullis & Peake
Cake Sale for the Charity of the Year
Jun 22, 2022
Movers & Shakers, Mullis & Peake, Uncategorized
Langtons Summer Concert
Jun 22, 2022
Family Mediation, Family Mediation, Legal, Family Mediation
Should children be involved in the mediation process?
Jun 22, 2022
Personal Injury, Personal, Personal Injury
When cosmetic procedures go wrong – can you make a claim?
Jun 15, 2022
Company & Commercial, Legal, Corporate and Commercial Law
Navigating the gig economy and the choppy channel across to franchising
Jun 9, 2022
Meet OUR people

Wills and Probate Team


Manzurul Islam

Manzurul is a ​Member and heads our Wills and Probate team.

Contact Manzurul

Martyn Trenerry

Martyn ​is our Chairman and the firms' Compliance Officer for Legal Practice

Contact Martyn

Trudi Bates

Trudi is an Associate at Mullis & Peake, with extensive experience in the Wills and Probate field.

Contact Trudi