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Estate of McCreath

Colorado Court of Appeals
240 P.3d 413 (2009)


Hazel McCreath created a revocable inter vivos trust; its assets consisted of the family farm and appurtenant mineral interests. Hazel designated herself and her daughter, Charlotte Ritchey (defendant), as co-trustees. The trust provided that Hazel could revoke it, in whole or in part, by signing and delivering a written instrument to the trustees. The trust further provided that both trustees were to make all trust decisions, unless the settlor had expressly given discretion to a single trustee. Almost 20 years after the trust was created, Hazel executed, alone, a quitclaim deed, conveying the family farm to Charlotte, free and clear of the trust. Several years later, Hazel executed a will consisting of four bulleted paragraphs. The first read: “revoke all prior wills and trusts.” The second divided Hazel’s personal property equally among Charlotte and Hazel’s two sons, Elton McCreath and Milford McCreath (the sons) (plaintiffs). The third paragraph distributed the residue of Hazel’s estate: 80 percent to Charlotte and 10 percent to each son. The fourth addressed the appointment of an executor. The will was delivered to Charlotte. Hazel died a year later. After Hazel’s death, the sons filed a lawsuit in a Colorado court, seeking a declaration of the effect of the quitclaim deed and the will, and pressing claims against Charlotte for breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, civil theft, an accounting, and constructive trust. The trial court ruled that the trust was not revoked by the quitclaim deed or the will. Charlotte appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roy, J.)

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