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Brown v. Brown

152 S.W.3d 911 (2005)

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Brown v. Brown

Missouri Court of Appeals

152 S.W.3d 911 (2005)

Facts

Catherine Brown (defendant) had four children and owned approximately 20 acres of rural real estate. In 1989, Catherine conveyed the property to herself and her son John (plaintiff) as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. In 1997, Catherine conveyed her remaining portion of the land to herself and her daughter Pam (plaintiff) as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. In 1999, John and Catherine decided that Pam should be added as a full, proper joint tenant with a right of survivorship. To accomplish this, Catherine, John, and Pam went to an attorney’s office and executed three quitclaim deeds. The first deed conveyed all of John’s interest to Catherine. The second deed conveyed all of Pam’s interest to Catherine. And the third deed conveyed Catherine’s interest to herself, Pam, and John as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. However, the deeds were mistakenly recorded in the reverse order. As a result, according to the recorder-of-deeds records, Catherine actually had a fee simple absolute interest in the land at the time. In 2002, Catherine executed a beneficiary deed that purported to convey the property, at the time of her death, to each of her four children as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. Under this deed, Pam and John had one-fourth interests in the property instead of one-half interests. John and Pam discovered this issue and asked Catherine to correct it. Catherine refused. John and Pam then filed a lawsuit seeking equitable relief to restore their interest in the land. The trial court imposed a constructive trust on the land in order to return John’s and Pam’s interests. Catherine appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ellis, J.)

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