Hull & Hull’s SCC win establishes important precedent

May 8, 2019 Suzana Popovic-Montag advocatedaily 0 Comments
Estates & Wills & Trusts

Hull & Hull’s SCC win establishes important precedent

By Kirsten McMahon, Managing Editor


Suzana Popovic-Montag

Hull & Hull LLP’s recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) win in a case concerning unjust enrichment has many practitioners “fussed” about how the ruling affects “what everyone understood to be a clear protection in terms of an irrevocable beneficiary,” Toronto trusts and estates lawyer Suzana Popovic-Montag tells Canadian Lawyer.

Popovic-Montag, managing partner of Hull & Hull LLP, tells the legal publication that when she first moved into the practice area, the firm’s co-founder Rodney Hull told her, when it comes to wills, trusts and estates, “You don’t get to the big house very often.”

But counter to that forewarning, the firm recently won a case involving unjust enrichment, Canadian Lawyer reports.

A 7-2 majority of the nation’s top court ruled that the common-law partner of a deceased insurance policyholder was unjustly enriched when she was named its beneficiary at the expense of the man’s ex-wife who paid the policy’s premiums for more than a decade.

The decision overturned a majority decision by Ontario’s Court of Appeal, which found that the deceased’s irrevocable designation of his common-law spouse constituted a “valid juristic reason” for her receipt of the policy proceeds.

“The Supreme Court ultimately granted us leave and reversed that decision and said the woman, who was paying the premiums pursuant to an oral contract with the deceased, was entitled to them when he passed away, notwithstanding, the fact that they were irrevocably designated to the other woman,” Popovic-Montag tells the legal publication.

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