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Family Law And Challenging Wills

Considering yesterday’s Estate Planning 101 – Family Law Issues [1] article, here is a case that was recently decided by the B.C. Supreme Court about how a will can get varied through claims of dependants. It illustrates the need to properly account for any dependents in your will.

If you have never read a court case, this one is relatively easy. You can view the case here.

The deceased had a brief intimate relationship with a woman outside of his existing common law relationship. A child was born from the intimate relationship and the deceased made voluntary support but never told his spouse of the child or the relationship. The spouse only became aware of his son after his death.

The deceased had appointed his spouse as the executor of his estate and sole beneficiary, but had made no provisions for his infant son. The guardian of his infant son challenged the estate and received 65% of the value of the estate (excluding contents of the home).

The court concluded that deceased had a legal obligation to support his infant son as well as to his common law spouse. In addition he had a moral obligation to both. In the court’s opinion, the obligation to his son outweighed the obligation to his common law spouse since the child was 5 years-old and his spouse could support herself.