First, what is a contract to make a will?
A contract to make a will is exactly as it sounds. It is an agreement to provide for a person as part of a decedent’s will. The terms of the agreement could be as simple as a promise to provide services in exchange for a specific cash gift as part of a decedent’s will. For example, Elizabeth may promise to provide caregiving and household services to William in exchange for William’s promise to provide her with $250,000 upon his death. When William dies, hopefully his will has a provision leaving a specific cash gift of $250,000 to Elizabeth. If not, then there has been a breach of the agreement. The agreement can become substantially more complex, particularly when real property is the subject of the agreement. Instead of agreeing to pay Elizabeth $250,000 in exchange for her services, William may promise to leave his house to Elizabeth. Again, when William dies there may be a breach of the agreement if William’s will contains no provision instructing that his house be given to Elizabeth.