Earlier this week, reasons for judgement were released by the B.C. Supreme Court for the case Reznik v. Matty.
In this case, three people – all children of the deceased – challenged the Executor’s decision to hold Estate funds and not distribute any.
The deceased, the father of all the parties in this action, died in 2000. The Estate was not resolved, seemingly due to certain real estate that had not yet been sold (for reasons that were not clear here). The Estate also holds liquid assets, mostly cash.
The Executor argued that the Court has never, in history, actually ordered an interim distribution of Estate funds. The Court proceeded to carefully analyze the law in this area, including its own jurisdiction, and concluded that an Executor can “Assent” to an interim distribution. In addition, if he or she does not Assent, without just cause, a Court can pronounce an Order to distribute the Estate in question.
The Estate was not of large value. But even aside from the unsold real estate, there were no significant debts remaining, and there were enough liquid assets to allow a modest distribution – which the Court allowed at $10,000 per person.
The Court also awarded costs against the Executor (as opposed to costs paid out of the Estate). This ruling is historic, and may in the future help beneficiaries who cannot otherwise force an Executor to distribute Estate funds.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on August 2, 2013.