posted by scoobies law on .
Adam’s godmother, Helen, is 93 years old and in poor health. Helen is a life-long alcoholic and has a history of depression and bipolar disorder. At the party celebrating Adam’s high school graduation, after consuming several Double Martini’s, Helen, clearly intoxicated, congratulates Adam on his graduation and hands him a card she had written before arriving at the party. The day after the party, Adam opens the card, which reads:
You are my beloved and most favored godchild. Since my only son, Mark, is a good-for-nothing, and since you have brought me such joy in my life, I will give you $500,000 if you graduate from college. I hope that this money will allow you to choose whatever career path you would like and enable you to live a comfortable life. Congratulations on your graduation!
Love and kisses,
Adam attends the University of Michigan. While attending college, he visits his Auntie Helen several times a year. On multiple occasions, Adam thanks his Auntie Helen for her generous promise to pay him $500,000 upon his graduation from college. Since money will not be a concern for Adam in light of his Auntie’s promise, he informs Auntie Helen that he intends to join the Peace Corps after college because he feels that is where he will be able to do the most good for the world. Auntie Helen repeatedly tells him that she is happy her money will enable him to serve the public interest.
One week before Adam graduates from college, his Auntie Helen dies. After her funeral, Adam discusses his Auntie’s promise with her son, Mark, who is the executor of Auntie Helen’s estate. Mark informs Adam that he has no intention of paying Adam the money.
Adam sues Helen’s estate, seeking to enforce the promise. Mark, the executor, claims that Auntie Helen’s promise was gratuitous (a gift) and not supported by consideration. Mark also claims that Auntie Helen lacked capacity to form a contract because of her history of depression and intoxication.
Was Auntie Helen’s promise supported by consideration (or was it a gift)?
Does Auntie Helen’s history of depression prevent her from forming a valid contract?
Was Auntie Helen intoxicated and unable to form a contract at the time the contract was written?
If she was intoxicated, did Auntie Helen ratify the contract at a later date?
Did Mark fulfill his duties under the contract, if a contract existed?