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An offeree's power of acceptance is terminated when the offeree or offeror dies or is deprived of legal capacity to enter into the proposed contract.
A month after decedent died, the claimants recorded a document executed between themselves and decedent, and notified the estate's personal representative of their intent to purchase decedent's property. When the estate's representative disallowed their claim, the claimants petitioned the district court for relief. After a hearing, the district court rejected the argument that the document was an option to purchase property because there was no consideration separate and distinct from a promise to pay the purchase price. However, the district court found that a bilateral contract for the purchase of land had been created that had survived death and ordered that the claimants were entitled to possession of the property. The personal representative appealed.
Was a contract created which survived the death of the decedent?
On appeal, the court concluded that, like the district court, that the document unambiguously manifested decedent's intent to sell her property to the claimants, but held that decedent's offer did not survive her death and there was no contract for sale at the time of death. Because the document signed by decedent and the claimants was properly characterized as an offer to sell, the claimants' power to accept the offer terminated with death. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court’s decision.