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Digest of the Week | Dependants' Relief Legislation and Adult Children

Dependants' Relief Legislation and Adult Children

Cotnam v. Rousseau | 2018 ONSC 216 | Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Estates and trusts --- Estates — Dependants' relief legislation — Entitlement to relief — Children — Adult children

Testator had two children, RC and SC, during first marriage — SC suffered from developmental delay, and testator continued to pay child support for her while she lived with her mother after becoming adult — Testator was in common law relationship with new spouse when he obtained life insurance for her benefit and made her beneficiary of pre-retirement death benefit — Testator made some provision for mother and children, including in will — Testator died while SC continued to reside with mother, remaining dependent while receiving disability support payments — Testator brought application for dependent's relief under s. 58 of Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA) — Application granted — SC was awarded half of pre-retirement death benefit, valued at $368,288.53 before taxes, in addition to her existing entitlements — Pursuant to s. 72 of SLRA, pre-retirement death benefit, vehicle gifted to spouse mortis causa valued at $28,755, and $97,000 in debts intended to be covered by life insurance policy were included in estate — Total net assets available to estate therefore became $822,095.64 when including RRSPs and life insurance benefits — Testator's distribution exclusive of pre-retirement death benefit would have resulted in spouse receiving $279,327 and mother and children collectively receiving $174,000 — While spouse was left with greater overall percentage of assets, she had been left on her own to take care of her affairs whereas SC had continued and ongoing support of her family.
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