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Borelli v. Brusseau

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Contracts Keyed to Knapp

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 12 Cal.App.4th 647, 16 Cal.Rptr.2d 16 (Ct. App. 1993)

Brief Fact Summary. Appellant Borelli, entered into a contract with her late husband to provide nursing care for him at home in exchange for property. Appellant’s husband did not leave her the promised property in his will. Appellant is bringing this claim against Appellee Brusseau, also the executor of her husband’s estate, to recover the promised property.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Contracts between spouses to provide care during illness in exchange for compensation violate public policy.


Facts. Appellant and her late husband entered into a prenuptial agreement. After being hospitalized with heart problems, Appellant’s husband became concerned about his health and told Appellant he intended to leave her an interest in a lot, a life estate in a condominium, a twenty-five percent interest in Borelli Meat Co., cash remaining in all of his bank accounts at his death, costs of educating Appellant’s daughter, all of his interest in a residence, all furniture in the residence, his interest in a partnership, and health insurance for Appellant and her daughter.
Later, Appellant’s husband suffered a stroke. He indicated to Appellant that he did not want to be in a hospital or nursing home. So her husband could stay at home, Appellant agreed to care for him in exchange for the aforementioned property. Appellant cared for her husband until his death, but her husband’s will did not give her the property he promised to her.

Issue. Does a contract for a spouse to provide care for an ill spouse in exchange for compensation violate public policy?
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