Spousal Wills Variation Claims
Tippett v Tippett 2015 BCSC 291 is probably the most thorough analysis of the law since the Supreme Court of Canada in Tataryn relating to how the claims of a surviving spouse vs. the estate of the deceased spouse is analysed under the wills variation act.
The facts simply put were the plaintiff and the deceased married in 1989 and acquired joint tenancy property in 1992 in which they lived together as man and wife until 2009. Both parties were employed and both contributed financially to the upkeep and improvement of the property.
The deceased was diagnosed with a debilitating disease in 2000, which necessitated the plaintiff leaving him in 2009 due to his abusive behaviour attributable to his illness. She continue to provide care services and financial assistance.
Two months prior to his death he severed the joint tenancy property and left one half his interest in the property to charities, with their remaining 50% to longtime friends who provided care and companionship to him after the plaintiff left.
The court varied his will and awarded the surviving spouse 50% of his estate.
I therefore order that the will be varied to provide the plaintiff with 50% of the net value of the estate after payment of expenses and taxes. As Deborah Tippett has assigned her interest in the estate to the plaintiff, that may serve to make the next steps in the processing of the estate somewhat less complicated. There are other defendants who have assigned their interest to the plaintiff and I wish to make clear that the plaintiff is entitled to those assigned interests in addition to the 50% I have allowed. However, I expect that difficulties will emerge in dealing with the remaining beneficiaries and the parties have liberty to apply to speak to any issue that arises.