5 Key Things to Know about Dependent Support Claims against an Estate
Estate Litigation with Dependent Support Claims
In this post, we’re going to discuss briefly 5 common Estate Litigation issues that someone who has a potential Dependent Support Claim, or who is challenging such a Claim, needs to keep in mind:
- Dependent children always get priority.
Regardless of any other entitlement any dependents may have, dependent supports claims by children and other dependents of the deceased will always get priority over everyone else in Estate Litigation claims.
- Being separated doesn’t mean your ex isn’t entitled to a LOT when you die.
If you’re separating from your spouse, make sure to have a valid Separation Agreement and to finalize a divorce. If you don’t, your heirs may be faced with prolonged Estate Litigation and your spouse can be entitled to the first $200,000 of your Estate and a 1/3 portion of the remainder. This is called a “priority claim”, and often pops up out seemingly out of nowhere.
- If you’re not a dependent, you’re last in line.
If you’re owed money by a deceased, you’re last in line after dependents such as minor children, equalization payments of the spouse and any other other dependent claims.
- If you’re a spouse and don’t like what’s in the Will, you can choose to take as if you divorced.
Spouses in Ontario can choose between taking what’s left under a Will, or what they would have received had they divorced the day before the Deceased passed away. Often Estate Litigation will follow, especially in cases of separated spouses who never finalized a divorce. But you only have 6 months to choose, so get legal advice!
- What you thought was excluded from the Estate may be brought back in.
Certain properties, including homes, amounts payable under a beneficiary designation under an insurance policy, an RRSP or RRIF, investment fund or benefit plan, gifts made by the deceased when they knew they’re going to pass away, accounts held in trust by the deceased for other parties, as well as accounts and property of the deceased held jointly with another can be brought back into the Estate to make sure that dependents receive sufficient support. A common first step in Estate Litigation is to determine the assets of the deceased after accounting for all of the above funds, and then determining how those funds should be distributed.
If you’re faced with any of these issues, make sure to call us. We’ll answer your Estate Litigation questions and ensure that your rights are protected.