Harry, 85, wants to marry 75-year-old Esther, but he does not want to lose his widower's pension. They agree not to obtain a marriage license or register the marriage, but instead to have only a ritual ceremony in a rabbi's office. Harry dies and his will leaves his assets to his children. Does only a religious marriage ceremony give Esther any rights to Harry's estate?
Is it legal to disinherit someone for marrying outside the faith? As a general rule, Ontario Courts respect a person's desire to dispose of their assets as they see fit. However, with the Family Law Act , and the Succession Law Reform Act , the Legislature has intervened to protect the interests of spouses and dependants. The Courts have also avoided certain bequests because they offend Public Policy.
Mr. Allen, (not his real name) an Orthodox Jew, wanted to make sure his will would survive his son's scrutiny. The client was not worried about challenges to his capacity, or allegations of undue influence. Rather, his concern was Halachic.
The doctors argued that, in this context, “treatment” as defined in the Act does not include the withholding or withdrawal of treatment that had no medical value to the patient. Hence, the withdrawal of such treatment could be done without the patient’s consent. The doctors argued that the Act merely enshrined the common law which recognized a doctor’s right to withhold or withdraw treatment. The doctors further argued that according to the common law they were not permitted to continue “inhumane” treatment even if the patient or his substitute decision-maker demanded it.