TERRILL V. ESTATE OF ELEANOR TERRILL
WILLS AND PROBATE: Constructive trusts and destroyed will
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING (VANMETER)
DATE RENDERED: 10/6/2006
In this case, a grandson, William, sought a constructive trust because his grandmother had promised that he would inherit family property through her. When his grandmother died, his uncle apparently destroyed the will and effectively disinherited William. William’s father told him to be quiet because he would eventually receive that share and more. After William’s parents and uncle died, his aunt promised to leave certain assets to him. After his aunt died, he did not receive anything from the estate and sought to impose a constructive trust. The Court observed that William recognized that he had no claim against his grandmother’s estate because more than ten years had passed since her death. Furthermore, the Court reminded us that a constructive trust exists to prevent a person benefiting from fraud or to prevent unjust enrichment. Because the aunt’s “mere promise to devise or bequeath property, without consideration, may be revoked,” neither situation existed here. The Court of Appeals sustained the summary judgment against William.