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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The wife of the deceased, Dr. Dominic Ciarniello, sought variation of her late husband’s will as she felt the will did not make adequate, just and equitable provision for her. The testator left behind a sizable estate and his wife of 28 years (39 years together) and 5 adult children (3 being from previous marriage). The will provided that after certain specific gifts, the residue of the estate was to be divided equally among his 5 children and his wife was only to receive any interest he had in the family home in Vancouver. Under the circumstances, the plaintiff felt she was not adequately provided for. The claim was brought by summary trial application.
The petitioners, the sons of the deceased, applied to remove the executor and trustee under the last will of their father. With their application, they also sought an order appointing them as executors and trustees in substitution of the respondent. The respondent, the widow, sought a number of orders. After isolating the issue, the court granted the respondent’s application to remove her and place them in the position of executor and trustee of their father’s estate.
The Deceased’s Will named a niece as Executor and sole beneficiary of the estate. Through the regular path, the named niece brought an application for probate and was issued a grant. The Deceased’s nephew then brought an action against the niece in her personal capacity, and in the capacity as executor, challenging the will claiming the Deceased lacked testamentary capacity and was unduly influenced by the niece. The nephew sought an order that the will was invalid and damages for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. The niece also sought an order including one under s. 86 of the Trustee Act for advice and directions respecting management or administration of trust property and that she was entitled to use estate funds to defend the civil action.
The recent decision of Anderson v. Anderson Estate is an example of the tension that often exists with families at the time of a death. Earle Lloyd Anderson died December 6, 2012 only one week short of his 88th birthday. The Plaintiff, Mrs. Anderson, was Earle’s second wife and they had been married in 1992. Mrs. Anderson brought an application to vary the will of her husband as she had only been left the ability to remain in their matrimonial home (on conditions) and receive a modest income from the residue of the estate (on similar conditions). The Defendants, Earle’s children from a previous marriage, opposed the application and held the opinion that their father and Mrs. Anderson were separated after his hospitalization before death in 2012 and was not entitled to anything further.