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Is a verbal agreement binding?

Mother and stepfather verbally proposed I mothers son would inherit property if I stayed and took care of them..I have now been here 5 years . Mother passed first and now stepfather wants me to pay for the property after I have taken care of just him past 3 1/2 years. He has decided to go live with biological son who hes just met after 61 years and is changing all aspects of a living trust and our verbal agreement. He states he is still leaving me the property but also has decided that I should pay One hundred thousand for property valued aprox,. five hundred thousand. This is after I have given up my life in California and spent the last 3 1/2 years taking care of him after my mother passed. Do I have any way of making him honor the agreement.

ANSWER BY MARGARET CROSS-BELIVEAU:

Verbal agreements are promises, not contracts, and are generally not enforceable. However, there is a legal argument called detrimental reliance/Promissory Estoppel. If, because of their promises, you took steps which cause a loss to you, then you are entitled to compensation. You will need to be able to prove that this promise was made to you. You should consult with an attorney.

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Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.

The probate litigation attorneys at the Beliveau Law Group provide legal services for probate, estate administration, and trust administration. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.

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