Trustees in California trust disputes should not overlook the power of the constructive trust remedy as a way to recover errant trust assets. That’s a takeaway from Higgins v. Higgins (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 648, an opinion in a trust litigation case published last week by the California Court of Appeal.
A Los Angeles Superior Court trial judge found a “clear moral obligation” on the part of Lupe Higgins to return several hundred thousand dollars to the Higgins Family Trust, but could not find a legal obligation, so the judge apologized to the Higgins family for being powerless to restore the funds. The appellate court did not like the sound of that music and came to the rescue, ruling that the trial court had discretion to compel Lupe to transfer the money to the trustee of the Trust. Continue Reading