Abandoned Children Win Wills Variation Action Based on Moral Obligation Owed by Deceased Mother

Brown v. Wisted Estate 2010 BCSC 1890 involves a wills variation action brought by 2 of the deceased’s 7 surviving abandoned children, against one other sibling, who inherited everything from their mother.

The deceased abandoned her 7 children in New Brunswick and move to British Columbia in 1968.

She died in 2008.

She had almost no contact with any of her children during these years, except for one daughter, the defendant, who lived with the deceased from 1974 until her death.

The defendant then received the entire estate of the deceased totaling $710,000,– $464,000 of which was by will, and $236,000 was by right of survivorship.

The testator made no provision for her other surviving 6 children.

The 2 children who brought a wills variation action against their defendant sister, were each awarded $125,000.

The 4 children who did not bring wills variation claims with accordingly not receive anything.

The court was critical of the failure of the deceased to provide to the plaintiff’s lives financially, morally and emotionally in their formative years.

The court refered to the deceased as “a woman who did what she wanted when she wanted with little regard for her parental responsibilities”.

She was willing to have a relationship with the plaintiffs as adults, but only on her own terms, and only when initiated by the plaintiffs.

Justice Dardi held that while the wills variation act is not intended as a means of awarding compensation for family abuse, a judicious parent, in the circumstances of the deceased, would recognize her moral obligation to the plaintiffs, for unfair treatment of them over her lifetime.

Her moral obligation was intensified due to the plaintiff’s efforts to reconcile with their mother, only to be rebuffed.

disinherited.com is of the opinion that this is a very sensible and proper decision.

In some respects it is regrettable that the other 4 children who remained disinherited, did not join in the court action.

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