Respected Estate Lawyers Providing Guidance on Equitable Claims
A claim against an estate can be made by anyone who believes they may be entitled to financial remuneration from that estate. This is not limited to beneficiaries only. This can include anyone who has not been named a beneficiary but believes they should be compensated for their time or other contributions they put into caring for a family member, friend, or other individual.
At Sweatman Law Firm, we represent clients in all types of trust litigation, including equitable claims. We can help you determine whether you may have grounds to file a claim, and can help you through the process. Our extensive experience and specialized knowledge in this area enables us to protect your legal rights and help you obtain what you are entitled to.
Understanding Equitable Claims
As the name implies, equitable claims are based in “equity” (i.e. fairness). The law recognizes that individuals should be treated fairly, particularly in the context of providing assistance or services to another person.
Equitable claims are based on the principle of unjust enrichment, meaning, if one individual has been unjustly enriched at the expense (financial or otherwise) of another, that other person may have grounds for a legal claim. In such instances, any damages suffered do not flow from an injury, but rather, are said to flow from equity.
Common Situations Resulting in Equitable Claims
Common situations in which equitable claims may arise include:
- An elderly or sick individual who makes a promise to their caregiver to include the caregiver in the will but ultimately does not do so. That caregiver may have ground to file an equitable claim, triggering a dispute over whether they can receive compensation for the time and effort they put in when caring for the individual in question;
- An adult child who wants to purchase real estate, but cannot afford to do so on their own or with their partner. That adult child receives financial assistance from their parents and places them on the title, but thereafter pays the mortgage and pays for all necessary repairs and renovations on their own. The parents may have a ground to file an equitable claim and a dispute may arise over whether they have a legal and beneficial interest in the property.
- A mother and adult son share a bank account so that the son can assist his mother with finances, bill payments, and other expenses. The son owes a fiduciary duty to the mother in operating the account, should act in the mother’s best interest, and should not use the account for his personal benefit. However, the son and mother may have an arrangement whereby the son is remunerated for providing the mother with assistance, and the son may have grounds for an equitable claim.
Types of Equitable Claims
There are various types of equitable claims that can be made against an estate:
- Constructive trusts claims;
- Unjust enrichment claims;
- Resulting trusts claims;
- Quantum meruit
Each of these claims have their own rules and purposes, and are a highly technical area of estates law. If you wish to proceed with any of the above, it is important to consult with a highly knowledgeable lawyer with significant expertise in the area. At Sweatman Law Firm, our founder, Jasmine Sweatman, has been certified as a Specialist in Estates and Trusts law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and is a recognized leader in the field.
Contact our Trusted Estate Lawyers for Guidance with Equitable Claims
If you believe you are entitled to a portion of an estate of a family member, friend or other loved one, you may be able to file an equitable claim to assert your rights. Contact the estate lawyers at Sweatman Law Firm online or at 905-337-3307 to book a consultation. We represent clients in Oakville, Georgetown, Milton, and throughout southern Ontario.