In the LeVan case, Richard’s family’s business was worth $30 million. Before his marriage to Erika, Richard’s family insisted that they enter into a marriage contract. The contract excluded Richard’s business interests and severely restricted Erika’s rights to support upon end of marriage or upon Richard’s death. The court set aside the contract and the LeVan case became the seminal case for the proposition that full and frank disclosure should be a foundation stone of every domestic contract.
Challenging a prenuptial agreement in the context of estate litigation happens more often than you think. When wealthy people marry, their lawyers often advise them to ensure that their fiancé signs a prenuptial agreement. The goal is to protect the wealthy person’s family in case, God forbid, the marriage breaks up and/or the wealthy spouse dies. So, if the couple each hire good lawyers and the prenuptial contract clearly spells out their agreement, is that ‘pre-nup’ still open to challenge?
People who sign domestic contracts should know that failure to make full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information opens the door for the contract to be set aside.
In the LeVan case, Richard’s family’s business was worth $30,000,000. Prior to his marriage to Erika, Richard’s family insisted that they enter into a prenuptial agreement. The contract excluded Richard’s business interests and severely restricted Erika’s rights to support upon the dissolution of the marriage or upon Richard’s death. The court set aside the marriage contract and the LeVan case became the seminal case for the proposition that full and frank disclosure should be a foundation stone of every domestic contract.
Is it up to you who will have custody of your children after your death? Not necessarily. In a lecture about Halachic Wills Rabbi Moshe Taub spoke about a young Catholic woman who converted to Judaism. She did not have a will so no one was appointed as guardian of her child. While it was natural that the maternal grandparents applied for custody, the prospect of this child being raised as a Catholic was the antithesis of what the mother wanted. What ensued was a battle to keep that Jewish child within the fold. How might his have been avoided?
This cheat sheet is intended as a quick reference guide for estate litigators dealing with limitation periods. For a comprehensive review of this topic I refer the reader to articles written by senior members of the bar I have found very useful which I believe are worthwhile to review.
Reuben equally, in his will, and in accordance with his culture, all the assets of the father were left to the male heir. Is this legal? The legality of a father’s will may depend on which province’s law applies. If the law of British Columbia governed, there is a very good chance that Samantha would succeed and the court would order the estate be split equally. If Ontario law applied and there were no other legal issues raised concerning the validity of the will, then Samantha would have a less likely chance to win. Why the uncertainty? Let’s look at three cases to explain, Tataryn v. Tataryn, Cummings v. Cummings and Johnson v. Huchkewich.
Heather and Chaim never believed in marriage. They lived together for 20 years, had 3 children and were happy. Chaim was hit by a truck and dies. He had no Will. Had Heather been legally married she could have: had the right to elect for an equalization payment under the Family Law Act1; or received an inheritance by virtue of an intestacy under the Succession Law Reform Act2. Since there was no Will, Heather would have inherited a preferential share of the estate equal to $200,000 and 1/3 of the balance to share with the Chaim’s three children.
Can you imagine burying a spouse and then being sued for support by a mistress? For those who believe in primacy on marriage and that marriage obligates its partners to fidelity, the idea of rewarding a mistress to a portion of the family's inheritance is unjust. Others argue that financial obligations should flow from the intensity and duration of life partner relationships regardless of the partners' marital status. What do the courts think?
Imagine Rebecca falling in love with a very wealthy older man. His children insist that before marriage she must sign a domestic contract and promise not to make any claim for support or division of property under either the Family Law Act or the Succession Law Reform Act. Rebecca is young, in love and knows that this man loves her. She agrees. Fast forward twenty years later and Rebecca’s husband has died. He has left her nothing in his Will and she has no means of support. Is there anything Rebecca can do? Maybe.
Paul suffered from Becker's Muscular Dystrophy. He often fell, had trouble standing up or sitting down and going down stairs was arduous. When his parents divorced, Paul's father undertook to support him and recognized that this obligation was to survive his death. In his Will, Father left $125,000 trust to care for Paul. The disease was progressively debilitating and the expense for Paul's care substantially increasing. It was clear that not even Father's entire estate of $650,000 would be enough to care for Paul. He asked for increased support with a dependant's relief application under the Succession Law Reform Act . The court considered the morality of giving everything to Paul at the expense of the other beneficiaries.