The court disagreed with the daughter and found control of the tickets was always exercised on behalf of the business. (Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)
If someone dies leaving season tickets to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who gets to keep them?
The tickets would usually go to the people who inherit the deceased person’s estate. In a twist, that did not happen in the following Ontario Superior Court of Justice case.
A father owned a business with a partner with whom he had a close personal relationship. They were friends and business partners for five decades until the father’s death.
They started buying tickets in the late 60’s or 70’s but were told at the time that they couldn’t put the tickets in the name of their business, so they put them in the father’s name. Tickets were paid for every year, which was then written off as a business expense.
After his death, the daughter claimed that the tickets belonged to her father as they were in his name, he controlled them throughout his lifetime and they should go to his estate.
The business, on the other hand, claimed that he held the tickets in trust for and it was a business decision to buy and use the tickets, amounting to the company having decision-making authority over the tickets.
The court disagreed with the daughter and found control of the tickets was always exercised on behalf of the business and not the individual business partners.
The court found that even though the tickets were in the father’s name, the intention was to use the tickets for the business by the partners to maintain relationships with clients and suppliers. The court also found that had the father intended the tickets to be for personal use only, he would have given them to friends and family instead of selling unused tickets to a scalper.
Given that the intention was to use the tickets for the business and that the business had paid for them, the court ruled that a purchase money resulting trust was created in favour of the business.
The court ordered the father’s estate to hand over the tickets to the business.