Ashton v. Ashton

733 P.2d 147 (1987)

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Ashton v. Ashton

Utah Supreme Court
733 P.2d 147 (1987)

Facts

Frank Ashton owned real property with associated water rights. Frank had two brothers, Woodruff Ashton (plaintiff) and Wilford Ashton (defendant). Woodruff was married to Edith, and Wilford was married to Virginia (defendant). Before he died, Frank told Wilford that he wanted to leave his real property and associated water rights to his two brothers, with Wilford getting the west half and Woodruff getting the east half. However, Frank was concerned about the marital problems Woodruff was having with his wife. Accordingly, Frank told Wilford that he would give Wilford all of the property if Wilford promised to give Woodruff the east half as soon as Woodruff’s marital problems were resolved. Wilford agreed, and Frank conveyed the entire property to Wilford and Virginia as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Following Frank’s death, Woodruff demanded his share of the property, but Wilford and Virginia refused to convey the property because Woodruff continued to have marital problems with Edith. Woodruff and Edith divorced, and Woodruff demanded his share of the property, which Wilford and Virginia refused. Woodruff filed a quiet-title action. The trial court found that Frank and Wilford had a confidential relationship, and by refusing to convey the property to Woodruff, Wilford breached the confidential relationship. The trial court ordered that the east half of the property and one water share belonged to Woodruff. Wilford and Virginia appealed, arguing in part that because Virginia did not have a confidential relationship with Frank that her share could not have been part of the constructive trust.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hall, C.J.)

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