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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Can you challenge a will based on a broken promise?

This is an interesting question that I've heard from time to time over the years. What if someone promised you that a major asset of theirs would become yours when they passed away, but then their will left the asset to someone else? Can you contest the will?

The answer is that  yes, sometimes you can. However, in order to be successful with this type of claim, you have to bring evidence of more than just the promise was made. You also have to prove that you relied on this promise to the extent that you suffered some detriment by not receiving the asset. Also, your relying on the promise must have been reasonable.

In other words, if your uncle promised you his mansion one day as a joke and it was never mentioned or thought of by either of you again, don't expect to inherit that mansion. It has to be a situation in which the promise was actually made, and in which you took steps or actions that showed you were relying on that promise.

To read an excellent example of the kind of arrangement and the type of evidence that would lead to a successful claim against an estate, click here to read an article from that talks about the estate of Sabey vs. Beardsley.

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