Verbal gifts prior to death

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Verbal gifts prior to death

My mother died recently and gifted me her
jewelry verbally. My stepdad has decided to
follow the letter of the will. Since he wont give
me a copy due to possible hurt feelings I
suspect it goes against the will.

Is her gift valid?

Asked on February 11, 2019 under Estate Planning, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

An oral (that, not "verbal," is the correct term for a unwritten promise or agreement) has NO binding effect on what happens to a person's possessions after their death. Only a written, properly signed and witnessed will has any legal or binding effect. So your stepfather has to follow the terms of the will--the law requires that.


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