Disinherited spouses & minor children (Dependants), with few resources, risk having their legitimate claims for support thwarted because they cannot afford to wait for their money. This video discusses how Ontario law allows Dependents to seek interim support to hold them over until their claims are adjudicated and to provide the wherewithal to prosecute their claims.
This video depicts actual Lawyers from Wagner Sidlofsky LLP discussing legal principles, statutes and case law in an educational presentation. The story used as a platform for the discussion and persons portrayed as potential or actual clients are fictitious. Other than our firm’s lawyers, any resemblance to real persons or real client stories is coincidental and is not intended and should not be inferred.
Greg: Good morning Ella.
Ella: Mr. Sidlofsky, thank you for setting up this meeting.
Greg: Oh please, call me Greg. I’ve asked my partner, Hershel Sahian, to join us. Tell us, how can we help you?
Ella: So my three children and I need a lawyer. My husband, Julian, died six months ago. He left us with nothing. I need someone to get me some money right away. My late husband’s family warned me not to fight them because they will stretch this out forever. I don’t have a job. The only way I’m surviving this right now is by borrowing money from my mother and father.
Greg: Well tell me, did your husband have any money? And if so what happened to his on assets?
Ella: So Julian and his brother, Lex, and their mother, Wendy, were business partners in the store in Yorkville. From what I understand the business gross 3 million a year.About one week before he died Lex took my husband to a lawyer. I had no idea but my husband wound up signing a will, giving his interest in the business and all his money to his brother. He left me and our children nothing.
Greg: Hershel just handled a case like this. Hershel, why don’t you jump in?
Hershel: Absolutely. Ella, how large is your husband’s estate?
Ella: It was really just the business. I don’t know how much it’s really worth. My husband told me it was worth nine million dollars but I don’t really know. He told me he owned one-third of the business.
Hershel: Okay. And do you know what your net worth is, separate and apart from your husband’s estate?
Ella: I have nothing. When we got married my husband wanted me to give up my job as a real estate agent and to stay home and be with the kids. My credit cards are maxed out. I need money now.
Greg: Hershel, why don’t you explain to Ella what’s involved in bringing an application for support and interim support?
Hershel: So Ella, in Ontario we have a law called the Succession Law Reform Act. It provides that a dependent who is not adequately provided for by a deceased can look to the estate for support. The law recognizes that sometimes court cases take years and the dependent needs money now, urgently. It’s for this reason that the law also provides that the dependent has the option to bring a motion for interim support.
Ella: So what do we have to do to win this motion for interim support?
Hershel: Well to do so the court requires us to address four questions. The first question is were you and your children dependents of the deceased. According to the law a spouse is a dependent. So are your minor children. So we don’t have to deal with the first question.
Greg: We do have to show is what support that the deceased provided to you and your children prior to his passing.
Hershel: Next what we have to do is establish has the dependent demonstrated need. So the court considers all of the circumstances of the application including your needs in comparison to your accustomed standard of living and your current and future means of maintaining your standard of living. Lastly the fourth question is what are the circumstances of the deceased’s estate. Ultimately the question is whether the estate has the resources to make the claim support payments or what clawbacks are available to the court to be ordered to insure the making of support payments.
Ella: Gentlemen, I need a lawyer who will fight for me. My kids and I were cheated. We have nothing. My husband’s family have made it very clear to me that they will play hardball and they will try to squeeze me to accept a lot less because they know I cannot afford a long fight. If I don’t get this interim support I will lose big time. So please tell me the bottom line. Do my kids and I have a chance?
Greg: Well Ella, every case turns on its own facts but from what you’ve told us. I’m confident that you have a good case. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when you go to court but we are going to fight to get you the support you and your children need. Hershel, do you have anything to add?
Hershel: Ella, it’s clear to me that you were treated badly. I think a judge will see it the same way. We would like to help you.
Ella: Okay, thank you so much. I trust you guys and I would like to move forward with you.
Greg: Okay, it will be our pleasure to represent you.