WELLINGTON Farm Advisor Meeting
November 21, 2019 @ 7:30 am - 9:00 am CST
Constructive Trusts – Christopher Crisman-Cox – Miller Thomson
This presentation will focus on the concept of a “constructive trust” in the context of farm property. In a nutshell, a constructive trust allows an unmarried, common-law spouse (or for that matter, potentially anyone else) the ability to obtain an interest in a farm property as compensation for unpaid contributions to the property, such as labour, renovations, etc. This is especially relevant in the context of farm property, where family members often provide significant unpaid paid labour to the farm operations. It is an important concept to be aware of, and to plan for, as it has the potential to introduce significant uncertainty (and potentially very expensive litigation) in the event of a family separation. This presentation will look at cases involving constructive trust claims over farm property in the context of separation, and will discuss how to avoid this type of claim. Because I practice in estate litigation as well, I will also briefly turn to look at the possibility of a constructive trust claim being made against an estate including farm property.
Chris Crisman-Cox is a litigation associate at Miller Thomson’s Guelph office, with a focus on family law and estate disputes. He assists with all aspects of family separation, including property division, support, and child custody and access, and can also assist with marriage contracts (a.k.a. “pre-nups”). With regard to estate disputes, he has been involved on both sides of will challenges, as well as debt and trust claims brought against estates. He has experience dealing with farm property, both in the context of separations and estate challenges.
He is originally from the U.S., having been born in Texas, and then growing up in rural Pennsylvania. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University, and then spent several years teaching abroad, first in the exotic Marshall Islands, and then in South Korea. Chris obtained his law degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and now lives in Guelph with his Ontarian wife. Chris volunteers his time with two local organizations, Belwood Lodge, which operates an annual summer camp for children and adults with disabilities, and the Guelph Youth Music Centre, which provides a variety of musical programs and opportunities for children, as well as the broader community.
Please feel free invite any colleagues who may be interested in becoming a chapter member.
Coffee and treats will be provided.