Wills Variation: Perhaps it was more than money
Last year I wrote about the case Moore v. Drummond, in which an adult child sought to overturn his mother’s Will on the basis that she did not have the necessary capacity. The Court held that the mother did, in fact, have capacity. The child (defendant) then sought to vary the Will, based on the Wills Variation Act. Reasons for judgement were handed down last week.
In the case, the defendant was disinherited in his mother’s Will. The circumstances were sad: the mother apparently had not wanted to become pregnant, and seemed to resent her son for being born. As you might expect, they were distant. The child visited her periodically, but their contact was mostly by telephone.
Curiously, the mother stated in her Will that her son ‘never visited her’, and so disinherited him. The Estate was instead left to her neighbours, who were close friends.
The Court, in a rather short decision (also understandable), found that the deceased owed her son a moral obligation and that the reasons for disinheritance were insufficient to override the moral obligation. Nevertheless, the Court did not want to fully exclude the deceased’s Testamentary freedom, and therefore divided the Estate equally between the adult son and the neighbours.
This case has an unfortunate and sad background. It also appears that, since the Estate is valued at only about $110,000, after the expense of the litigation, the son will be left with a very modest amount. In the overall picture, I believe he deserved better.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on October 4, 2013.