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INTERESTS IN LAND - Equitable interests - Resulting trusts

Tuesday, August 06, 2019 @ 12:09 PM  

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Appeal by the defendant Paul from trial judgment finding that the registered ownership of four parcels of land was subject to a valid and enforceable resulting trust in favour of the respondent plaintiff. The appellant and S, the respondent’s daughter, were married from 1971 to 2009. At the time of separation, three of the four properties now at issue were registered in the names of the appellant and S. The fourth was registered in the names of the respondent and S as joint tenants. The respondent had a close relationship with the appellant and S throughout their marriage and maintained her close relationship with S after the separation. The respondent provided significant financial support to the appellant and S throughout their marriage. The trial judge accepted the respondent’s evidence that her motivation for not having her name on the titles to the three properties and having the fourth property registered in her name and S’s as joint owners was to protect the properties from claims by her sons from whom she was estranged. The respondent’s evidence was that she paid the entire purchase price for the two cottage properties and that S and the appellant were to contribute labour to make the residence liveable. The trial judge found that the ownership of each property was subject to a gratuitous transfer resulting trust. He found that the respondent was the beneficial owner of the entirety of two of the properties and the beneficial owner of 50 per cent of the two cottage properties.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in concluding that a resulting trust could exist in Manitoba despite the certainty of title provisions of the Real Property Act. Trusts related to land were not abolished with the adoption of the Torrens system. The use of the word “indefeasible” in Manitoba’s statute did not lead to a different interpretation of the underlying principles related to indefeasibility than had been adopted in the other Torrens system jurisdictions. A resulting trust of land in Manitoba can be enforced by an in personam claim against the trustee who appeared as the registered owner on the title to the land despite the provisions regarding indefeasibility in the Act. The presumption of resulting trust continued to apply in Manitoba in disputes between registered title holders and those claiming a gratuitous transfer resulting trust. Once it was applied, it then fell upon the registered title holder to rebut the presumption. The presumption of resulting trust applied to every disputed claim that there was a gratuitous transfer resulting trust. Its application was not dependent on there being no, or insufficient, evidence to support the trust claim. The trial judge did not make any palpable and overriding errors in his factual findings, in the inferences that he drew, or in his determinations of credibility and reliability.

Hyczkewycz v. Hupe, [2019] M.J. No. 179, Manitoba Court of Appeal, B.M. Hamilton, H.C. Beard and J. leMaistre JJ.A., July 3, 2019. Digest No. TLD-August52019001