Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
An honorary trust is not a true trust. It does not conform to the time-honored requirement that there be a beneficiary capable of enforcing its terms. Nonetheless, the transferee has the power to apply the property to the designated purpose, but cannot be compelled to do so. If the transferee does not apply the property to its designated purpose, she holds it upon a resulting trust for the settlor or the settlor's estate.
Testator left $ 25,000 to appellant for the care and shelter of her two dogs. After testator's death, the dogs were euthanized for health reasons. As a result, testator's parents petitioned for the return of the money to appellee estate. The trial court held that appellant had received the funds as an honorary trust, which failed due to the deaths of the dogs. Upon failure, the honorary trust became a resulting trust for the benefit of the residual beneficiaries of the estate. Appellant sought review of the decision.
Under the circumstances, was it proper to order the appellant to return the money in question to the appellee estate?
On appeal, the court affirmed, holding that the testator's intent was unambiguous that the money should benefit the dogs and not appellant. Thus, an honorary trust was intended. Because the dogs were put to sleep, appellant could not use the money for its designated purpose. As such, the money was properly ordered returned to appellee estate.