Master Denies Summary Judgment as There Remained in Dispute Material Facts Relating to the Question of Whether an Implied or Resulting Trust Was Created

Damiano v. Damiano Estate, et al., C.A. No. 6396-ML (October 24, 2013)


The Petitioner alleged that the Decedent withdrew $20,000 from his account two days before his untimely death and used those funds to obtain a treasurer’s check payable to his father (“Decedent’s Father”).  Petitioner, who was the Decedent’s wife, contends that the Decedent and Decedent’s Father agreed that Decedent’s Father would hold the funds in trust for the Decedent for a period of time, and would later return those funds to the Decedent.  The Respondents disputed those facts, but said that that dispute was of no moment as upon issuance, the treasurer’s check became an obligation of the issuing bank, payable to Decedent’s Father upon demand, and therefore not an asset of the estate. The Master, however, disagreed that the factual dispute was irrelevant, finding that the “factual issue of whether the Decedent and Decedent’s Father agreed that the funds would be held in trust precludes summary judgment in this matter.” More specifically, the Master explained that, “[e]ven if the respondents are correct that a treasurer’s check purchased by a [Decedent] before his death is not an asset of the estate, but instead a contract between the bank and the payee named on the check, the respondents have offered no authority that this rule overrides an agreement between two parties that the funds would be held in trust once paid by the bank.”


William M. Kelleher, Director
Gordon, Fournaris & Mammarella, P.A.