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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35045
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My step mother died and we had a verbal agreement number

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My step mother died and we had a verbal agreement for a number if loans and gifts totally 20k . That agreement was to pay a token payment of 10 per month until her death - over 3 years we paid this until her death and some of monies given were after this agreement but she maintained the same agreement - her family inherited a large sum of money from the estate and have engaged a solicitor to recover this money - is a verbal agreement legal binding - we only have her verbal undertaking and proof of payments stretching over 3 years . Thanks
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
if there is decided case law on this - can you provide me with point of reference so I can read about it- the 10 is obviously £10 per month thanks
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information first.Do you accept that the money is due to the Estate?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We accept that some of the money is due to the estate - yes but not all.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have kept this very simple - if we had a verbal agreement and honoured that verbal agreement - and was gven other money and again confirmed my step mum's wishes - is that a legally binding contract- if we can show that we did everything that was asked? Is the fact that part is gift or part loan of any relevance. I am aware that the debts of indiviuals transfer to the Estate so family can ask us to honour that debt- my question is about the wishes of the deceased and proving there was never a intention to pay the debt on her death - and that the £10 per month for 3 years + prior to the death was a token payment- it would have taken 190 years to pay back - and we agreed to pay it indefinately or until her death - so what I am trying to ascertain is that - is the verbal agreement and evidence a legal means to challenge the family . thanks
Was there a Will or did her family inherit under the Intestacy laws?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
there was a will - all proceeds to her 3 children and provision to step grand children- we were aware of that - i am not sure where this is going . I am really sorry - is the question too complex about verbal agreements- I have read a lot about these things- We are so angry because we were the main carers of our step mum- for years and family did so little but we respected the Will wishes because that is what my late father told us to do- separate the families. My step mum was extremely wealthy and although £20K sounds a lot. Her will was in excess £500K - we disclosed our monies as part of inheritence tax to solicitor and family said not to wory as it was part of the tax - then months later said as it was loans and we now have to agree to pay back to family, these were not her wishes. I am trying to formulate a response - I think we have a strong case with evidence of her wishes and agreements . - but I just want to get some idea if I can or not challenge the request. Are you able to help. Thanks
I am afraid that any verbal agreement that you had died with your stepmother - and what you do or do not have to repay is governed by the Will.Had there been an intestacy then it would have been easier to try and argue that you do not need to pay However there was a Will and that Will does not make any provision for the debt to be rebatedYou will need to tease put which were loan and which were gifts.Unless you have independent and direct evidence that you were not expected to repay the loan I am afraid that the verbal agreement between you is no longer bindingPlease ask if you need further detailsClare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you - could I argue though that the £10 per month, which was a token amount, is direct evidence of the wishes because we received money both at time we set up the Standing Order and afterwards- that would surely be proof of things together with our evidence- thanks
The opposite I am afraidThe payments make it clear that it was a loan and not a gift
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
ok thank you - bit depressing really . - i was checking internet and there was lots of examples of verbal agreements being used and courts accepting them- if we could prove that agreement is there any way to argue the case - we ae so upset and want to close this matter - any inspired thoughts would be appreciated- thanks again
What did you do for her - generally I mean?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Everything- its a long story but my dad married Elsie in 2002- My wife and my two children are only family members that went on holiday with them- her 3 children live NZ, Oxord and Wakefield - we lived local NE England- My dad was diagnosd Alziemers 2008 and died 2010. Elsie was very lonely and we did her shopping, organized home delivery meals, cooking, cleaning- taking her out. She was dithery so we had her to GP and diagnosed Parkinsons- we attened Consultant apointments- denist. She had to stop driving and was moved to prvate Nursing Home- ( we asked Family to decide on that) - we moved her, set hr up, took her to buy bed, sofa, - and continued to provide carem companionshiip, took her out- to visit friends- we atended every consultant apointment , GP- Dentist- we even helped get her wheelchair, Atendance Allowance- sorted out all her bills, attended meetings with acountants- help write birthday cards - everything- when she had to go to hospital my wife did intimiate thinks re bowel movements - She called us son and daughter. Her own family we contacd and kept updated- we told them about the investments as we were concerned about family knowing if anything happened to her- we sold her bungalow- that is we put it up for sae- cleaned, empied it - we did everything- family NZ visited once but rang regularky - daughter hated mothr and rarely visited only if it suited other plans and son in Wakefielkd we dealt with and updaed on her health- it is sad but family blamed their mother for concentrating on busines instead of them and when old enough all left home - they realy are a terribe bunch- we have tried to write to solicitor expressing these things but ignored- thats life I suppoe but this is principle.So hope thats flavour- whats your thinking ( sorry about spellling not a typist)
So would it be fair to say that she may well have seen the money as her way of paying for these services?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i suppose yes- i mean she was our step mum but that is he reason she gave us money and only wanted peppercorn payment - apart from some if it being gifts-yes
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
i work so having to respond in between things- sorry about delays but i am keen to get any advice - thanks
Did she ever in any way intimate that she would "look after you" when she died?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
hi clare not sure what qout means
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
yes i think that is fair to say - but how can we prove that- what she told us is that we wouldn't have to worry about this money -at anytime we could have asked her to sign something - but we didn't - there was never any concversation that she would give us anything just a promise we wouldnt owe anything- we didnt want he inhertitance despite her discussing changing her will - does that help.
Given the comparative amounts involved - loan/gifts against the total estate you may not need to prove anything at all- you just need to produce an argument that could lead to the possibility of court action that would cost them money to fight and which they could potentially lose.This should make them negotiate!The case I have in mind is detailed here
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thankyou. So in essence having read this case - although some of the legal jargon is a bit complicated - the gardener won his case on basis of his long relationship and promise by the deceased but there was no will - slightly different here - but will drawn up 7 years before her death and in that time all of the things we have said changed so on that basis her promise to us for everything we did - to make sure we did not have a debt to the estate- could be argued on same basis - I have keep that simple - is that the gist ? Thank you for all your help feel much better now I have something to work with . Colin
You have understood the case perfectly and even identified the potential weaknesses.I hope all goes well