Last week, reasons for judgement were released in Dayton v. Dayton Estate. In the case, a longtime married couple separated in 2005, after having signed a separation agreement late that year.
In 2007, the husband died in a vehicle accident, not having made a Will. No divorce proceedings ever commenced.
The main question for the Court was whether the separation agreement should be set aside and the deceased’s assets move by intestacy to the surviving former spouse.
The Court’s considered decision was, in a sense, somewhere in-between.
The Court first held that the separation agreement was not unfair and should not be set aside. However, some of the assets moved to the Estate, while other assets, including a bank account jointly held and an RRSP where the designated beneficiary was the surviving former spouse, did not. The surviving spouse (Plaintiff) was awarded both assets.
It is impossible to discern what the deceased had intended with his assets, given that he did not make a Will and did not take necessary steps after the separation agreement was executed.
I doubt he intended that his former spouse have the assets she was awarded, but his noticeable lack of planning led to this (perhaps not unjust) result.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on August 7, 2015.