Does it matter where you are domiciled? It sure does! A Will was revoked based on a marriage in 2013

The case of Sato v. Sato 2017 BCSC 1394 highlights the analysis in determining where an individual is domiciled.  Where an individual is domiciled becomes important when it influences whether or not a will may be revoked due to a marriage – ss. 14 and 15 of the former Wills Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 489 provided that the marriage of the testator of a will revokes the will, unless the will was made in contemplation of marriage. 

Not Too Late - Estranged Son Brings Action for Share of Father's $600,000 Estate

The testator had two sons, but one did not know the identity of his biological father until his teenage years.  When the testator died, he left the estate equally between his sister, the executrix of the estate, and one of his son’s (E).  Subsequently, in 2013, E’s mother brought an application (as legal guardian), on E’s behalf, under the Wills Variation Act to vary the will.  Through this application, the matter was settled whereupon E would receive 80% of the estate and W would receive 20%.  Later, the estranged son, J, brought an action for an order that the will provide provision for him as well.  

Are you in a common-law relationship? Yes? No? This BC Court decision may have your answer.

In this case, the judge took an open-minded approach in addressing whether or not a couple had been “common-law” in the eyes of the law.  Mr. Chambers applied for a declaration that he was the “spouse” of Ms. Connor, within the meaning of s. 2 of WESA, although they were not legally married, did not live together and did not have any children.  Ms. Connor did not have any children and she was predeceased by both her parents and her only full sibling.  The application was opposed by Ms. Connor’s five half-siblings, which Ms. Connor had never met. 

Elderly Spouse Awarded $300,000 From Wills Variation Claim

Dr. Philp (84) brought a claim under s. 2 of the Wills Variation Act as he felt the will of his wife did not make adequate provision for him.  While both Dr. Philp and the deceased had previous marriages, they had a long relationship together and were married for 31 years.  The will provided Dr. Philp a life interest in the family farm property (owned originally by the couple as joint tenants) as well as the income generated from the residue of the estate until his death.  The value of the estate at the time of death was valued at $677,000. 

Daughter Receives $185,000 From Will for Value of Mother's Home - Home was Sold Before Mother's Death

The testatrix died February 9, 2015, aged 91, and was survived by 3 children.  The will, made September of 2000, detailed her daughter, the petitioner in this action, was to receive “any property which I may own and be using as a home at the date of my death”.  At the time the will was made, the testatrix owned a home on Hornby Island, but it was later sold and, at the time of her death, she did not own a home.  The question became, should the daughter receive an amount equivalent to the proceeds of sale of the property?

Adopted Children Cannot Vary the Wills of their Biological Parents - WESA confirmed

The Plaintiff was born to the testatrix, but was subsequently legally adopted when he was ~1 year old.  The Plaintiff later reunited with his birth mother and they enjoyed a loving relationship.  In his birth mother's will, the Plaintiff was to be left a portion of her estate.  The Plaintiff brought an action seeking variation of the will pursuant to s. 60 of WESA, but the Executor of her estate brought an application to dismiss the Plaintiff's claim arguing he did not have standing to advance such an action under WESA.  

Sister Act: Mother's House Held in Trust Rather than Gift

Two sisters were at odds over the ownership of their deceased mother’s home.  In 1989 their mother had transferred the title of her home to herself and the appellant sister, Ms. Cooper, as joint tenants.  Their mother died in June of 2012 and Ms. Cooper took title by survivorship.  Her sister, Ms. Franklin, had argued the 1989 transfer was gratuitous and Ms. Cooper held the title of the property in trust for their mother’s estate.  Ms. Cooper argued there was an agreement between her and her mother for which consideration was given.  The trial judge found there was no 1989 agreement and the property was held in trust for the estate.  Ms. Cooper appealed this decision.

Wife Wins Fight for Deceased Husband's Sperm: Sperm Released

This curious case arose after the deceased had struggled with extensive medical conditions, but he and his wife had wanted to have a family together and agreed the wife would use his reproductive material to conceive a child.  The couple had agreed that regardless of whether he died, the wife would use his reproductive material to conceive.  The deceased died intestate and the estate passed to his wife whereupon she applied for a declaration that the human reproductive material of her husband was her sole legal property and that it should be released to her for her use absolutely to create embryos. 

Lover Receives Interim Distribution of $250,000 From $2.5 Million Estate

Upon the death of Patricia Burns, a number of legal issues arose relating to her sizable estate valued more than $2.5 Million.   Her daughter, Leslie Davis, brought an action under s. 60 of WESA alleging that her mother’s will did not make adequate provision for her, the only child.  Additionally, Brent Dale brought an application under WESA for the payment of an interim distribution of $250,000 from the estate as he was a beneficiary under the will.  The largest asset of the estate had been a house located in Vancouver and was sold in February of 2016.  Patricia had left two wills:  one that was dated October 2010 and another from 2005.

Sheikh's Daughter Removed As Administrator In Hotly Contested Estate Litigation - Appeal Dismissed

In 2003, Sheikh Salem Homoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah passed away intestate and left 15 beneficiaries.  His family has since been caught up in estate litigation across several countries as he held properties in Kuwait, Gibraltar, London, and B.C.  His beneficiaries included his two sons, his two wives, and his seven daughters.  While two of his daughters did not participate in this litigation, one, Sheikha Salem Homoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, is the appellant in this action.  She sought to appeal an order from an application revoking the grant of letters of administration of her father’s estate (located in B.C.).  The chambers judge had found the daughter had not exercised reasonable diligence in providing notice to the beneficiaries of her intention to apply for administration of the estate in BC and she had failed to disclose relevant information.  

Wife of 53 Years Receives Half of $2 Million Estate After Wills Variation - Originally Only Left with $ in Trust

The testator left behind an estate worth over $2 million and his will detailed it be divided into two shares, one to his son absolutely and the income of the other to his wife for life, then to be divided among her son’s living children upon her death.  The wife brought an application to vary the will as she felt the will failed to adequately address the legal obligations to her.  The couple had been married for 53 years and their finances had been intimately entwined.  

Court Denied Wills Variation After Wife Lived in Family Home 12 Years After Death of Husband

The litigation had been commenced many years ago in 2003 and had essentially been sitting stagnant as no substantial steps had been taken to move the matter forward.  The plaintiff, the wife of the deceased, had begun the action after her husband’s death in 2002 and the action was brought ahead after her subsequent death in 2015.  The action was brought by the plaintiff’s personal representative and the claim sought variation of the late husband’s will as it did not make adequate, just and equitable provision for her.Importantly, since the testator’s death, the plaintiff had been living in the matrimonial home and the executors of the estate, the testator’s children, had been providing some money from the estate to assist the plaintiff’s living situation.