Promises made before death

People often make promises about what will be left by them in their Will and that can cover a wide range of situations.  Where that promise is not given effect in the Will then a dispute may arise.

Some promises may be in the nature of general indications, for example to fend off pressure from the family about being provided for in the Will, but others may be more substantive and people may have acted relying on that promise. These claims require not only discretion and understanding, but skill in gathering the right evidence to evaluate the claim.

This type of claim is technically known as “proprietary estoppel”. The key features needed for a valid claim are:

  1. A promise that the disappointed person will receive benefit
  2. The disappointed person has relied upon that promise
  3. The disappointed person has suffered detriment
  4. Encouragement by the person making the promise

There are other types of trust dispute that may arise, for example in relation to business dealings or interests in property. These can be very complex and we are able to advise on a case by case basis.