How can I enforce a verbal agreement made by a now deceased seller?

I have a friend who had cancer. He knew he didnt have much time left and was having trouble making payments on his boat. He offered to sell me the boat for what he owed, takeover payments. The first requirement was to catch up payments to avoid reposession. I’ve been making payments on the boat for almost a year. I’ve paid for registration, repairs and maintanence. For months now i’ve attempted to pay off the boat but need the trustee to agree and go with to the bank. Since then my friend has passed and dealing with the trustee and his children is getting no where. The children of the deceased want to sell me the boat for a lot more than what is owed. I have emails of the agreement but thats it. What can I do??

Asked on July 17, 2012 under Estate Planning, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.  I would take the documentation that you have to an attorney to review.  Verbal contracts can be enforceable as long as they do not violate a law known as the statute of frauds.  Proof of the agreement is a plus so besides the emails did any one ever hear him state these terms to you?  That would help.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.