The wife of the deceased sought variation of his will under the WVA asserting it did not make adequate, just and equitable provision for her. The will had been drafted September 24, 2003 and the testator died September 7, 2013 (pre-WESA). The plaintiff was the second wife of the deceased, but their relationship had lasted approximately 34 years. The plaintiff had two children from her first marriage. The deceased had four children from his first marriage.
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.
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.
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.