Family, Estates & Trusts 


Category: Marriage-like Relationships

BC Inheritance Turns on Common Law Relationship Status

In BC, a common law spouse automatically has a right to share in the estate if their partner dies without a will. When do romantic partners become common law spouses? A couple can be in a long-term relationship but not cohabiting. They may be living together, but not in a “marriage‑like relationship.” How to characterize […]

Estate of BC Biker Divided Between His Wife and “Secret” Common-Law Spouse

A Hells Angels prospect led a double life, leaving a “complicated legacy” after his disappearance and murder. Michael Widner maintained two separate households for almost a decade before his death in 2017. It was alleged that he earned large sums of cash from drug dealing and marijuana grow operations, which he used to fund both […]

Will Not Updated Post-Separation, But Former Spouse Still Inherits Ex’s Estate

When married or common-law partners cease to be spouses, s. 56(2) of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, c. 13 (“WESA”) automatically revokes testamentary gifts to one’s former spouse. The effect of s. 56(2) is that an ex-spouse is disinherited. But in some situations, that is not what is intended. In Jacobson Estate […]

Father Died. No Will. Does Live-In Girlfriend Inherit His Estate?

The rules of intestacy set out how an estate is to be distributed if a person dies with no will. BC law gives the largest share of an estate to the deceased’s surviving spouse. If the deceased did not have a spouse, the children of the person who died with no will are entitled to […]
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