Can I print out a piece of paper that says my mom will donate the house to me?

My parents are getting divorced and my dad wants the house and car to go under my name so they don’t fight over who gets it or have to sell the house. My mom told me she would agree to that put told my dad that she wasn’t going to do it. If I print out a statement that says she agrees to donate the house to me will it hold up in court. I don’t want her just to be telling me a lie.

Asked on October 5, 2017 under Family Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The kind of paper or writing you describe has no legal effect whatsoever. It's not a contract, because you are not giving her something of value ("consideration"), like payment of the home's fair market value, or foregiveness of some significant debt she owes you, in exchange for the house. Enforceable contracts, however, require consideration: both sides must give the other side something of value. If there is no mutual or reciprocal exchange of consideration--so if you are not giving your mother something of value for the home--the paper is not a contract; and promises that do not form contracts are not enforceable. So what you describe would not be enforceable in court and would not be binding.

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