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Property Law Supreme Court Opinion

by Zigadto, Janet


SC19668 - Lackman v. McAnulty (Declaratory judgment; quiet title; "In this case, we consider whether a grantor's failure to record a separate document limiting his powers ' "as trustee" ' in accordance with General Statutes § 47-20, when that grantor quitclaimed real property to himself as trustee, has the effect of nullifying the transfer of that property to the trust corpus, thereby allowing that grantor, as an individual, subsequently to devise that property through his will. The plaintiffs . . . appeal from the trial court's award of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, who are beneficiaries of a trust settled by the decedent . . . . On appeal, the plaintiffs claim that the trial court improperly determined that the phrase 'otherwise dispose of' within § 47-20 does not include a specific devise in a will. The plaintiffs argue, therefore, that the decedent's failure to record a separate document limiting his powers as trustee when he quitclaimed a certain parcel of real property to himself as trustee subsequently allowed the decedent to devise the property to the plaintiffs in his will. We disagree with the plaintiffs, and conclude that § 47-20 does not apply in this case because it protects only the interests of third parties who obtain property by means of a conveyance from a grantor who had received that property as trustee in the first instance. Because § 47-20 did not nullify the decedent's quitclaim deed to himself as trustee, the property was a trust asset, and the specific devise in the decedent's will adeemed. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.")