Reasons for judgement were released last month in a case called Orr v. Orr.
In this Wills Variation case, the husband died in 2009, having made a Will shortly beforehand. His marriage was a long one (more than 50 years) and he was survived by six children. He bequeathed his wife a life interest in the family home, and in the event of the wife’s death or her inability to use the home to live in, the home was to be given instead to one of the children.
The wife’s concern was that, if her health declined and she had to move to a care facility, there was not enough in the Estate to pay the costs of a care facility.
One of the children, who had some health problems, made a claim to vary the Will as well. The Court gave the wife full ownership of the family home and half of the rest of the Estate. The daughter received one quarter.
In my opinion, this decision is sage. The problem was that the Estate mainly owned land. There seemed to be no other assets that the wife could use to generate enough income to pay a care facility. My guess is that the couple could have benefitted from some planning with respect to liquid assets, such as GICs or dividend-paying stocks.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on March 15, 2013.