When a married spouse passes away, the law provides a surviving spouse with a number of legal entitlements. The Family Law Act (“FLA”) allows a surviving spouse to elect to either receive benefit under the deceased’s will (or to share on an intestacy if there is no will), or receive an equalization of net family property under the FLA. Normally, the surviving spouse seeks information regarding each of the options and then elects for the greater benefit.
Furthermore, spouse, whether married or common law, who has not been adequately provided for in the deceased spouse’s will may also be entitled to bring an application for dependant’s relief under the Succession Law Reform Act. Common law doctrines of constructive trust and unjust enrichment may also affect the entitlement of a common law or married spouse to share in the deceased’s wealth. Deciding which of these entitlements is the best option can be difficult. Each have time limitations by which they must be exercised. de VRIES LITIGATION can assist spouses in deciding which option to pursue and, if necessary, to bring litigation to enforce spousal rights. We also represent estate trustees/executors in defending spousal claims.