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Digest of the Week | Rebuttal of Presumption of Resulting Trust

Rebuttal of Presumption of Resulting Trust

MacKinnon v. Donauer | 2017 BCCA 437 | British Columbia Court of Appeal

Trusts -- Resulting trust -- Rebuttal of presumption of resulting trust -- Miscellaneous

Plaintiff, age 58, paid $150,000 to her daughter and son-in-law (defendants) to assist them in purchasing house -- Plaintiff lived in basement suite of house, rent-free, making additional contributions of funds to defendants to defray various maintenance expenses -- After nine years, relationship between two generations broke down, and plaintiff moved out -- Plaintiff brought action alleging she had intended to acquire interest in property proportionate to her contribution to purchase price, which was about 29 per cent -- Trial judge dismissed claims in respect of $150,000 payment, finding that presumption of resulting trust was rebutted, and that plaintiff transferred $150,000 with intention of acquiring benefit as part of family arrangement, but not to hold beneficial ownership -- Trial judge found that defendants were unjustly enriched by amount of $28,500 plaintiff had paid to assist with expenses, and monetary judgment was granted in that respect -- Plaintiff appealed -- Appeal allowed, on other grounds -- Counsel directed to attempt to determine market value of property as at trial date and plaintiff’s life expectancy in 2005, and then to calculate amount of judgment, or to otherwise settle upon some other amount -- Trial judge did not err in rejecting claim for resulting trust -- Property never belonged to plaintiff and was not put into names of defendants to facilitate their dealing with it on her behalf -- Arrangement was one of "mutual" or "reciprocal" benefits, and benefit intended to accrue to plaintiff did not include interest in property.
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