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Are Oral Pledges Legally Enforceable?

Yes, in some states.

In re Estate of Schmidt, 723 N.W.2d 454 (Iowa App. 2006)

Background. An elderly man (John) had been a member of the same church for many years. Throughout his life he made many gifts to the church. He informed his pastor that he wanted to fund remodeling of the parsonage, the church basement, and the cemetery. No specific amount of money was mentioned. John made a new will later that year, but he did not include a bequest to the church. The will included bequests to thirty-four relatives, including nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

John informed various relatives of his intent to pay for the church projects. He was later informed that the projects would cost between $115,000 and $150,000. He expressed no reservations as to these figures.

Prior to John's death, and in reliance on his agreement to finance the project, work was begun on one bathroom in the parsonage, and flooring ...

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Posted:
  • July 2, 2007

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