Gifts Made Before Death and Promises

Sometimes a person can promise to gift some or all of their estate to an individual if they are terminally ill and/or are contemplating their impending death.

Our specialist legal team have a wealth of experience in this area and can advise you on your position. They may be able to help resolve this if you were promised a gift that was excluded from a Will.

Proprietary Estoppel Claims

Proprietary Estoppel is a claim where an individual can claim the right to the estate where they were promised by the deceased (or someone else ) that they were going to be gifted the estate in their Will.

If the testator (the person who made the Will) promised that they would gift some or all of their estate to an individual but they don’t, then the individual may be able to make a claim as a promise is not legally binding. To make a claim in this area, the claim needs to fall within these 3 categories:

  • Assurance

The individual that is making the claim (or claimant) must have been promised or given the idea that they would receive some or all of the deceased’s estate.

  • Reliance

The claimant would need to demonstrate that they depended on the promise of benefitting from the estate.

  • Detriment

The claimant would need to show that they have been detrimentally affected as a result of not being included in the Will, when they were promised otherwise.

Where all of these categories have been shown to be proven, the court will create an order to rectify any wrongdoing or injustice.

For example a child who works on the family farm for many years for little pay as they have been promised “one day all this will be yours.”

Deathbed Gift Claims

A deathbed gift is a promise of a gift to an individual made whilst thinking about their impending death and it is made separately from a Will. The gift must be conditional, for example: it cannot be gifted until the person that promised the gift passes away. Until the point of death, the person promising the gift can decide otherwise. The gift is only valid if the person gifting gives an item, for example, the gift or relevant documents to the individual that has been promised the gift.

Deathbed gifts are rarely made and the law surrounding them is complicated. If you have found yourself in this situation, it is essential to enlist the best possible legal support.

Unsigned Will Claims

If you are involved in a will that has not been signed, this makes it invalid and depending on the circumstances, you may be able to make a claim. This may be a claim on the estate or a claim against a professional who had been instructed to prepare a valid will.

Email Edward to discuss your situation or call 01206 766 333.