Unjust Enrichment: even after death did them part
Last month, reasons for judgement were released in the case Barrett v. Derksen Estate.
The Claimant was in a marriage-like relationship with the Respondent for 17 years, and they lived in a house owned by the Respondent and his business partner. The Claimant moved out of the house in 2009, at the end of the relationship.
In 2011 the Respondent died, just at the time the Claimant launched the action claiming an interest in the house. In 2012, the house was sold.
The Claimant claimed in unjust enrichment, based on her contributions over the years to the maintenance and other ongoing expenses with respect to the house. The Claimant took out three loans for household expenses and improvements, all of which benefitted the (now deceased) Respondent.
The Respondent’s brother was the Administrator of the Estate, but his evidence reflected a lack of knowledge of his brother’s (the deceased) financial affairs.
Meanwhile, the Claimant’s evidence was adequate to qualify for the remedy, and she was successful. She was awarded one-third of the increase in value of the house over the time the couple lived in it.
It’s important to know that even without a Will or a marriage, and even after a spouse dies, a claim in unjust enrichment remains for contributions made to the couple’s residence.
This ad ran in the Richmond Review on December 12, 2014.