Although the Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 90 dispenses with the absolute requirement of consideration or reliance in the case of charitable subscriptions, the official comments illustrate that these are relevant considerations.
Decedent made oral promise to give promisee, a synagogue, money for a library. Administrator of decedent's estate refused to give the money to promisee, who brought an action to enforce decedent's promise. The lower court granted summary judgment for the estate. On appeal, the court affirmed.
Do charitable subscriptions require consideration or reliance?
Decedent's promise was unsupported by consideration. Further, promisee's allocation of the money in its budget did not constitute reliance. The court declined to abandon the requirement of consideration or reliance for an enforceable contract in cases of charitable subscriptions. Moreover, enforcing an oral promise against an estate would be against public policy.