Moreover, he promised many times before witnesses that he is going to include the special gift to him in his will.
This understanding went on for a long time, in consideration for the special services given by the salesman.
The old man had two sons who were away and had no connection at all to the antiques business, whereas the salesman was working in the field and had a special passion for musical instruments and this is why he was promised the special gift in recognition for his dedication and services to his employer.
After the death of the old man, his sons opened his will and there was no mention at all of the salesman or the musical instruments whatsoever.
He asked for them, based on the continuous promises from his employer in the presence of witnesses who didn’t deny this fact.
However, the sons refused to listen to him or any one else, as the will didn’t mention this matter.
No one knows if this was a mistake from the old man or he just forgot to refer to this in his final will.
The salesman went to court against the beneficiaries.
His allegation was based on the continuous promises given to him by the testator of the will.
The court ruled that, every qualified competent person can give any part of his estate as a gift, however, the gift must be physically surrendered and given.
Regarding gifts by will, this must be clearly stated and written in the will in very clear-cut wordings including the name of the beneficiary and the subject-matter of the gift.
Accordingly, the promises of the antiques trader, have ‘gone with the wind’.
To claim any gift or otherwise in a will, the claimed subject must be written in the will.
As a golden rule, any will must be in writing and any promise for a gift in a will must also be in writing.
Any legally competent person, is free to make a will before his death. The executor(s) and beneficiaries are only guided by what is written in the will, irrespective of any gestures, promises or actions from the testator.
All are advised to be careful, as promises are valueless.
The author is a legal consultant