Reliable Representation For Jointly Held Assets And Unjust Enrichment Claims

Two common kinds of estate disputes revolve around assets jointly held by a decedent and a relative or other person and claims that an estate was unjustly enriched by the efforts of an inadequately compensated claimant.

Hugh S. McLellan, Deidre J. Herbert and J. Jeffrey Locke are Vancouver estate and joint assets lawyers who have represented many clients in these situations throughout the Vancouver area, the North Shore, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.

Helping Clients Navigate Through Jointly Held Asset Disputes

Before a pair of decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2007, it was a popular practice for parents to establish joint bank accounts with a child. When the parent died, the child would then claim the funds in the account, which thus passed outside the estate and avoided wills variation claims.

The Supreme Court decisions negated the presumption that the transfer of funds from a parent to a child of the account was a gift. The new presumption is that when funds are held in a joint account by a parent and child and the sole contributor to the account was the parent, the surviving account holder holds the funds in trust for the benefit of the parent's estate. Where a joint account is held with another relative or friend, the same test would apply.

The surviving account holder must then establish that the intent in having the joint account was for the decedent to make him or her a gift. Experienced counsel should be consulted to make certain that the intent is clear. McLellan Herbert, Barristers & Solicitors has considerable experience with the consequences of the new rule.

Strategic Representation In Unjust Enrichment Litigation

More often than one might think, someone performs services for an individual and is not fairly compensated by the individual during their lifetimes or by the estate when the individual dies. A friendly neighbour might do work on another's house, for example. When the individual accepts the benefit of such services and there is an expectation of compensation and the estate does not compensate the one who performed the services, that person may have a claim against the estate for unjust enrichment or constructive trust regarding a property.

This situation creates formidable problems of proof. The person making the claims needs evidence such as the testimony of independent witnesses, bank records and the like. It calls for a qualified and experienced lawyer to gather and evaluate the evidence and present it persuasively to the court.

Contact Us For A Consultation — Contingency Arrangements Available

If you are the holder of a joint account with a deceased parent or wish to challenge such an arrangement on behalf of the parent's estate, or if you have provided benefits for a deceased person without adequate compensation or recognition by the estate, contact McLellan Herbert online or call 604-901-5186 or 800-449-4858 to set up an initial consultation.