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Are Pledges Legally Enforceable?

In some cases, a financial pledge may be legally enforceable.

Last Reviewed: March 29, 2021
Key point: A promise to make a charitable contribution to a church may be legally enforceable if the promisor receives something of value ("consideration") for his or her promise.

Can a person who promises to make a $25,000 contribution to a church be compelled to honor his commitment? That was the issue before a Georgia appeals court.

A church purchased property from an individual for $375,000. In the contract of sale the seller promised to donate $5,000 to the church each year for the next five years (for a total contribution of $25,000). When the promised donations were not made, the church sued the seller for breach of contract. The seller claimed that his promise to make the donations was unenforceable because of lack of "consideration" for his promise.

A trial court ruled in favor of the seller, concluding that a commitment or promise is not enforceable unless the ...

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  • March 1, 1994
  • Last Reviewed: March 29, 2021

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