Promissory Estoppel-real estate California

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Promissory Estoppel-real estate California

Family code section 852 seems pretty clear, transmutations
must be in writing. So my husband owned the marital residence
prior to marriage. It is his separate property. He promised me
a Life Estate, if I agreed to sign on the new mortgage. After
that I also spent nearly 100,000 in improvements to his
house. I understand I can seek some reimbursement for the
improvements. Question is can I force him through promissory
estoppel to give me that Life estate?

Asked on August 11, 2019 under Family Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to. As you apparently know, promissory estoppel applies if--
1) The other party makes you a promise to encourage you to do something to your detriment or costly to you--like cosigning a mortgage and investing in a home;
2) It is reasonable for you to rely on the other party's promise--such as a spouse's promise relating to what is or will be a marital home;
3) You in fact rely on that promise to your detriment.
The situation you describe appears to meet these criteria, so you may be able to force him to grant you the life estate.

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.

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