A lot of difficulties here with the passage of time/statute of limitations and the fact that this agreement was not in writing. The best argument might be a constructive trust but I'd have to research if there is not a limitations problem there too. We have a number of fine lawyers within Cohasset who may be able to give guidance within an initial free consultation.
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
You said that you have no proof of the promise. Unless there is a third party who can corroborate what you have to say or your father agrees that is what happened, it's going to be a steep uphill climb.
If your father is competent, he can give his assets to whoever he pleases while he is alive and dead. If you think your father is not competent, then you need to consider filing for conservatorship or calling Elder Protective Services.
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
You really need to sit down with an attorney and go through all the facts. This is complicated and sounds like there is a substantial amount of money involved. Are there any documents that support your claim? How much did you work and how is it you were not compensated at all? Feel free to call me tomorrow.
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I agree with Attorney Golden. Without proof, it is going to be very difficult to show your are entitled to any property. Even with proof of the actual promise, oral agreements to transfer real estate are extremely frowned upon and only given validity with substantial proof.
If you have any proof (corroborating witnesses, documents showing your father's intent even though he never followed through, etc.), talk to an attorney. S/he will be able to give his/her opinion on whether you have a case.