Yesterday, I blogged on the case of Gubo Estate v. Cotroneo. There, the estate was granted judgment against the Defendant for the recovery of an alleged “gift” that the court determined was unsubstantiated, and therefore repayable.
Interestingly, the judgment was not for the full amount of the gift. The Defendant alleged that he had paid out approximately $22,500 on behalf of the deceased, and that this amounted to a debt in his favour. The Court accepted this, without much discussion, and reduced the amount repayable to the Estate by $22,500.
The Court heard from the Defendant that the deceased had made a gift of the funds to him, and that the Defendant had made various expenditures on behalf of the deceased. The Court did not accept that the transfer from the deceased to the Defendant was a gift. However, the flip side of this was that the expenditures by the Defendant for the deceased were not gifts, either: hence, the reduction of the judgment in favour of the Estate.
In dealing with the case of an alleged gift, counsel should always consider the bigger picture: if the gift fails, is there a basis for a counterclaim by the defendant for advances from the defendant to the deceased, or on the basis of quantum meruit?
Thank you for reading,
In the recent case of Gubo Estate v. Cotroneo, the Court considered a claim on behalf of an estate for the recovery of funds advanced by the deceased to her boyfriend.
The deceased had sold her home and had given the proceeds of sale, being $65,000, to her boyfriend, and then moved into his home.
The Court found that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the advance was a gift.
As to a remedy, the Court heard evidence that the advance was likely for the purpose of defeating creditors of the deceased. As such, the Court declined to apply the doctrine of resulting trusts, applying a Court of Appeal statement to the effect that "evidence of an illegal scheme will not be received to support a resulting trust."
However, the Court found that it was not necessary to rely on the doctrine of resulting trusts. The Court found that it was able to make a monetary award, and granted judgment in favour of the deceased’s estate.
In advancing a claim on behalf of an estate, the imposition of a trust is not always necessary, and a monetary award will often be the most appropriate remedy.
Have a great day,