J. David Keith Answers your Common Estate Litigation Questions


My husband recently passed away. I am the beneficiary of the estate, but the estate is small and a number of assets passed to others outside of the estate. The funeral and other expenses will use up a significant amount of the estate and I won’t have much left. This doesn’t seem fair.


As a spouse, you are recognized as a dependant. If your husband’s Will fails to make adequate provisions for your support, you may make a claim for dependant support. The determination of the support amount is not simply a mathematical calculation of what you need to survive.

The courts also consider the moral obligations of a person to provide for their dependants. The relevant legislation provides a lengthy list of factors that the courts consider in determining dependant support. Another very important aspect is that if the deceased did not adequately provide for his/her dependants within their estate, assets that passed outside the estate can be brought back into the estate for the purposes of dependant support.

For example, if your husband had an insurance policy with a designated beneficiary other than you, the court has the jurisdiction to order the proceeds of the insurance policy paid to the estate for the purposes of your support. The same may apply to other assets that passed outside the estate.

It is always important to get comprehensive estate planning advice in advance, however, if you are dealing with an estate issue, contact J. David Keith, Partner at Lockyer + Hein LLP to learn more: dkeith@lhlaw.ca / 905.452.7400 ext. 31