When is someone a spouse?
In any relationship, it is unpredictable whether the people will make Wills.
If they do, the surviving spouse will need to know whether assets are bequeathed to them, especially the home in which the couple lived.
Can the surviving spouse stay in it? Often, the surviving spouse will have to consider varying the Will, because they are either disinherited or left an inadequate part of the Estate.
Last month, reasons were released in the case Neufeld v. Dafoe, in which the surviving “spouse” (Plaintiff) needed to get a Court Order that she was indeed a “spouse,” so that she could seek to vary the deceased spouse’s Will.
(Remember, in B.C., only children and spouses of the deceased can try to vary the Will.)
The Plaintiff succeeded in proving she was a spouse. She lived under the same roof, the relationship was sexual and the Plaintiff became a caregiver after the deceased was diagnosed with cancer.
In the eyes of the Court, they had a spousal relationship.
Thus the Plaintiff sought to vary the Will, and the Court granted her a 37% share of the Estate.
Of course, an Estate plan would have been preferable, but at least the Plaintiff got a seemingly just result.
This ad ran in the Richmond News on November 6, 2015.