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& Associates

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Mark Malachowski
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San Francisco, CA 94102

(415) 983-0717


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San Francisco Estate, Business, and Investor Immigration Law Blog

Oral Promises and Wills

Wills and TrustsPursuant to California Probate Code Section 21700 - Contract to Make a Will - a person is allowed to establish an agreement between the decedent and the child, friend, or caretaker concerning the decedent leaving them assets. However, there are some hurdles. The California Supreme Court has noted that upon a person's death, "the temptation is strong for those who are so inclined, to fabricate evidence giving color to a claim that the parties entered into... an oral arrangement." Notten v. Mensing , (1935) 3 Cal.2d 469, 477.


Under 21700, proof of an oral contract must be clear and convincing evidence of an agreement between the decedent and the claimant or a promise by the decedent to the claimant that is enforceable in equity.