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Law School Case Brief

Andrews v. Andrews - 116 Wash. 513, 199 P. 981 (1921)


Cases of this kind are not favored, and when the promise rests in parol are even regarded with suspicion, and will not be enforced except upon the strongest evidence that it was founded upon a valuable consideration, and deliberately entered into by the deceased. But while not favored and rarely enforced upon oral proofs, the power to make a valid agreement to dispose of property by will in a particular way has long been recognized.


Plaintiff son filed an action to establish and enforce an alleged oral contract with the decedent to the effect that the decedent would will the son all of the property he owned at his death. The lower court found for the respondent wife of the decedent. Plaintiff appealed.


Can the plaintiff enforce an oral contract to the effect that his father would will him all the property he owned?




The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Upon review, the court found that there was no valid evidence in the record that showed the contract alleged by the son was ever made. Although the son's wife testified to the existence of the contract, her testimony should have been excluded under Rem. Comp. Stat. § 1211 because she was a party-in-interest. Because any property the son received would have been as a result of the alleged contract with the decedent, the property the son sought to acquire would have been community property pursuant to Rem. Comp. Stat. § 5917.

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