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Fairchild v. Rasdall

9 Wis. 379. (1859)

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Fairchild v. Rasdall

Wisconsin Supreme Court

9 Wis. 379. (1859)

Facts

Evidently Abel Rasdall dangerously wounded another man during an altercation in 1843. Fearing arrest and prosecution, Abel prepared to flee the country by giving his property to his brother, William Rasdall (defendant). Abel gave William a deed that said Abel had sold William the property outright for $2,000, but no money actually changed hands. Abel’s family said William was supposed to hold the property in trust for Abel’s wife and children. When Abel died intestate some 15 years later, estate administrators Jarius Fairchild and Abel’s wife, Lydia Rasdall (plaintiffs) sued to recover the property, arguing William had defrauded Abel’s wife and children of their inheritance. The only evidence that supported finding a trust was the family’s testimony, as no written trust instrument existed. William denied Abel gave him the property in trust. The court nonetheless found the property should go to Abel’s family. William appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Paine, J.)

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