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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You may have a spouse even if you think you don't

Have you ever thought that even though you have told everyone you'll never marry again or live common law with anyone, you might have a spouse without knowing it? Seems unlikely at first glance, but this is what happened to Edward Sobchak in BC.

Mr. Sobchak and Ms. Kish were dating. Since they had both been married before and each had an adult child, they decided to keep their finances separate, and they each maintained their own residences. They each had wills leaving their estates to their children. As they got older, Ms. Kish developed dementia and Mr. Sobchak became her caregiver. Mr. Sobchak then became ill and passed away recently, after which his girlfriend's son sued Mr. Sobchak's estate saying that Ms. Kish was a spouse and was entitled to support from the estate.

The court found that despite their intentions, their behaviour indicated that they were spouses. Fortunately, the court also found that the greedy son would not get anything from Mr. Sobchak's estate. For more on this case, I highly recommend that you click here to read an article by lawyer Maria Holman.You'll find more detail and more explanation there. If you'd like to read the entire case of Kish v. Sobchak Estate, click here.

This is a really interesting development and will have estate planning lawyers like me working overtime to find ways to communicate and support our clients' intentions.

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