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FLORIDA CONSTRUCTIVE TRUSTS AND JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS by Dana E. Quigley, Esq.

FLORIDA CONSTRUCTIVE TRUSTS AND JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS

It is a fundamental tenet of law that the utility of a constructive trust is when it is raised by equity with respect to property which has been acquired by fraud, or where, though acquired originally without fraud, it is against equity that it should be retained by the person who holds it. (Quinn v. Phipps, 93 Fla. 805, 113 So.2d 419, 422 (1927).

Thus, a constructive trust is a remedial device with dual objectives: to restore property to the rightful owner and to prevent unjust enrichment. (Provence v. Palm Beach Taverns, Inc., 676 So.2d 1022 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996)(citing Abreu v. Amaro, 534 So.2d 771 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988)). Plaintiff has sufficiently plead these allegations on the face of the complaint which support the imposition of a constructive trust.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal’s opinions in Sandler v. Jaffe, 913 So.2d 1205 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005) and Bruns v. Bruns, 682 So.2d 1159 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) stands for the proposition that where one joint owner of funds has wrongfully transferred money from a joint bank account, the other joint owner may seek the imposition of a constructive trust over the transferred funds in the hands of a third party. A constructive trust is an equitable remedy available in a situation where there is a wrongful taking of the property of another. (Abele v. Sawyer, 750 So.2d 70 (Fla, 4th DCA 1999).

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