Q: Is a verbal commitment legal in the courts.

My parents told me they wanted to leave me their house when they both past away. I sold my house and moved in with them. One year later my father pasted away and not even 2 months later my mom said that she wasn't going to leave me the house because she had 3 other kids to think about. Is this a breach of contract and will it hold up in court?

1 Lawyer Answer
James H. Wilson Jr.
James H. Wilson Jr.
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Glen Allen, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Almost all contracts are verbal, either oral (spoken) or written. A last will and testament requires certain formalities, as does a revocable or irrevocable trust. Both must be in writing and signed. In spite of the absence of a written will, trust, or contract, in some instances a court can recognize or impose a constructive or resulting trust to carry out the intention of the parties or prevent an injustice.

Anyone who has acted in reliance on a promise about an estate that was not fulfilled should consult with an experienced probate or estate administration lawyer in his or her jurisdiction.

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