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Caution:  This page contains ONLY GENERAL LEGAL INFORMATION. 
It is NOT LEGAL ADVICE nor a replacement for talking to a lawyer
and getting legal advice about your case.    
The law can be complicated and the details of a case can be even more complicated! 
There are exceptions for every rule. 


What you do not know can harm you.  Do not rely on general legal information.



The law recognizes a right to the interest in property or the right to financial compensation based on how property is acquired by the legal owner.  Trusts can arise in a number of ways:

  • by a direct agreement to hold property in trust

  • by the intention of a party to hold property for the benefit of another (a "resulting trust")

  • by operation of the law of equity (a "constructive trust")


Contributory Trusts
The law will impose a "constructive" trust where there is unjust enrichment for an owner of property, usually because of the contribution by one person to another's property - its acquisition, maintenance, or improvement,   There must be no other compensation for the contribution and no intent that compensation be a given.


An example is where a spouse works for years on a farm, improving its value.  The spouse is not paid and it goes beyond a fair distribution of household duties. A judge could decide that, because of this contribution, the spouse has a right to a part interest in the farm or to be paid part of the value of the farm.


Joint Family Venture
In an attempt to give clarity to contributory trusts between spouses, the law has focused on whether there is a "joint family venture".  This includes whether there has been:

  • a mutual effort

  • economic integration

  • actual intent

  • priority given to the family (over individual interests)


If there is a joint family venture and one spouse ends up with ownership of more property, then it would be unjust to allow this to stand.   A contributory trust may result and either a payment may be required or an interest in some of the property may be transferred.


Do You Need a Lawyer?
Obtain advice and understand the benefits, costs, and risks, before pursuing trust claims.  It is very complicated.

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