Judge awards additional $5.5 million to daughter in a Wills Variation Act case

On New Years’ Eve 2011, the BC Supreme Court ordered one of the largest awards under the Wills Variation Act.

The mother’s Last Will and Testament was made 18 years before her death.  The mother’s estate was valued at approximately $20 million, with most of the value coming from shares of a privately-held family company.

Upon an application under the Wills Variation Act, the court found that the Will did not adequately provide for the daughter.  The court varied the Will to give the daughter an additional $5.5 million.  The remainder of the estate went to the husband.  The court found that the mother’s Will fell below the moral obligation of a contemporary judicious parent in all of the objectively assessed circumstances

The Court considered the following factors:

  • the abundance of the mother’s wealth and her lavish standard of living;
  • the value of the assets passing to the husband outside of the estate and his independent wealth;
  • what the mother knew about her daughter’s comparatively inferior financial circumstances,
  • the significant financial setback brought on by the demise of the daughter’s business;
  • that the daughter would not inherit from her father under his will;
  • the mother’s promise to pay for her grandchildren’s education;
  • the daughter’s bona fide expectation that she would be securely provided for by her mother;
  • the devotion and love showed by the daughter to her mother; and
  • the value of the testamentary gifts to the daughter.

The full case can be found online at: http://canlii.ca/t/2f4v9

For further information please contact Andrew MacKay who was counsel for the daughter.