Monday, February 4, 2008

In the Matter of the Estate of Robert O. Quarg, deceased

01-23-08 A-2459-06T3
Long time girlfriend's share should be set by contract law, not constructive trust
Decedent's wife, from whom he had been estranged for over
forty years, appealed the Chancery Division's order imposing a
constructive trust on her surviving spouse's share of decedent's
intestate estate in favor of decedent's companion, with whom he
had lived since shortly after the estrangement. The court held that,
decedent's conduct and actions, together with the lengthy time
decedent and his companion lived together, and their mutual
consideration as husband and wife, was sufficient to establish a
question of fact whether there was an implied promise by
decedent to ensure that his companion received adequate
provisions during the remainder of her life. The court determined that
the Chancery Division mistakenly relied upon an equitable
principle of a constructive trust and The court remanded the matter for
a determination whether such an implied contractual promise
could be established.