Klockner v. Green


Edyth, deceased left will to her dead husband.    Possessions would normally pass to surviving relatives.  Richard is deceased’s step son.  Deceased stepmother approached Green to discuss drawing a will and indicated she wanted to leave her property to step son and his daughter.  She created a draft, but it was never executed.  Later she spoke with step son, telling him that she wished to leave him with real property and personal property to his daughter.  Mr. Green drafted a will as instructed and mailed to decedent.  She did not execute the will and died.  Richard and Frances testified that they would have continued to perform the services for decedent if she had not made the promises to compensate them.


Trial court granted D’s motion to dismiss.  Appellate affirms, holding that there was no reliance by plaintiffs upon decedent’s promise.


Can a decedent orally promise to bequeath her property to a caretaker for his services when the intended recipient would have continued caretaking without the promise of such compensation.


No.  Reversed and remanded.


If an act is requested by the offeror as consideration for a unilateral contract, the act need only be given with the intent of accepting the offer.


Evidence supports the existence of a bargain by decedent and her belief that she had contracted with P.  She attempted to execute a will, which presents strong evidence of her intent to carry out the bargain.

The rule that a statute of frauds should not be used to work a fraud is settled.  Oral contracts which have been performed by one party are frequently enforced where to do otherwise would enact fraud.  Policy reasons justify the development of the part performance exception to the statute of frauds.

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