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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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Donative Promises

Donative Promises

Chapter:
(p.97) Eight Donative Promises
Source:
Foundational Principles of Contract Law
Author(s):

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199731404.003.0008

Chapter 8 concerns donative promises, that is, promises to make a gift. The term gift means a voluntary transfer that is made for affective reasons, such as love, affection, friendship, comradeship, or gratitude, or to satisfy moral duties or aspirations, such as benevolence or generosity, and that is not conditioned on a reciprocal exchange. Donative promises that have not been relied upon, are not based on a preexisting moral obligation to compensate for a past benefit, and are made between individuals who are in an affective relationship, such as family or friendship, are referred to in this book as simple donative promises. It should be and is a basic principle of contract law that simple donative promises are unenforceable. Donative promises that are relied upon, are based on a moral obligation to compensate for a past benefit, or are made to social-service institutions, raise special issues and are considered separately.

Keywords:   donative promises, gifts, reliance, relied upon, preexisting moral obligation, social-service institutions

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