The perfect (legal) storm?
Last month, reasons for judgement were released the case Johnston v. Johnston Estate. The facts of the case are extreme.
The married couple purchased a home as Tenants in Common (rather than as Joint Tenants, which is customary) in 1968. In 1971, they separated and the husband left the home. Shortly after, the wife began cohabiting with another person.
The couple never divorced and never entered a Separation Agreement. Title to the home was left as it was. The wife remained in the house and died in 2009. She never made a Will. The former husband then sought a sale of the home, under the Partition of Property Act.
The Court analyzed the facts in great detail and concluded that, even though the husband made no contribution to the mortgage payments after he left the home (44 years ago), he was entitled to a half-interest in the home, which of course has increased in value dramatically (it is located in Vancouver).
The Court essentially held that no agreement was ever reached denying the husband his interest – based on a weak attempt at negotiations in the 1970s. Overall, this extraordinary fact situation reveals the value of planning ahead and “getting it done.”
This ad originally appeared in the Richmond News on September 8, 2015.