Deed with Oral Trust Add On Upheld

By Doug Chalgian on June 17, 2023

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X deeds real estate to Y with understanding that Y will hold the subject property for the benefit of Z, and convey the property to Z at the appointed time.

X dies.

PR is appointed personal representative of X’s estate and petitions to set aside said deed and recover the subject property to the estate.  PR argues that the deed to Y is invalid as it violates the statute of frauds because the interest of Z is not expressed in a writing.

Trial Court denies PR’s petition, and the Court of Appeals affirms.

COA explains that while the statute of frauds may hinder Z from making a claim to enforce the oral agreement between X and Y, it does not invalidate the deed which is a writing, and which on its face conveys good title in the subject property to Y.

To read the unpublished opinion of Estate of Clisson J. Finney, click here.

It’s probably worth noting that the only issue on appeal was the application of the statute of frauds.  Other theories under which the validity of the deed may have been challenged, such as mistake or fraud, were either not raised or not preserved.


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mm By: Doug Chalgian
Doug Chalgian

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