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 was taken up in the church basement. Landscaping the cemetery was also started.

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Posted: July 2, 2007
View All
from our store
2020 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

2020 Church & Clergy Tax Guide

Find comprehensive help understanding United States tax laws as they relate to pastors and churches.
Talking to Your Congregation About Money

Talking to Your Congregation About Money

Helpful insights on talking about money and encouraging people to become generous givers.
Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts

Charitable Contributions Bulletin Inserts

Help your members give more by answering their charitable giving and tax law questions.
Church Fundraising Campaigns

Church Fundraising Campaigns

Discover tips on raising and borrowing money.

ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Let ChurchSalary do the work. Get personalized compensation reports for staff and pastors.