Sunday, June 20, 2010

Haegedorn v. Haegedorn

Sheila Haegedorn inherited a one-quarter interest in land near Kaslo, British Columbia from her grandmother. The other three-quarters interest in the land was left to Sheila Haegedorn’s mother, Robina Haegedorn, and to each of her mother’s siblings. Robina Haegedorn’s mother bought out her siblings.

When Robina Haegedorn died she owned a three-quarters interest in the land. She had three children, including Sheila Haegedorn.

In her will, Robina Haegedorn left Sheila Haegedorn a one-twelfth interest in the land, and each of the other children a four-twelfth interest. She divided the rest of her estate equally among her three children. The effect of this division in her will is that each child will end up with a one-third interest in the land, Sheila Haegedorn already having received a one-quarter interest from her grandmother.

Sheila Haegedorn applied to vary her mother’s will under the Wills Variation Act. This legislation allows a child or spouse to apply to vary a will on the grounds that adequate provision has not been made for her. If the Supreme Court of British Columbia finds that adequate provision has not been made for the child or spouse, the court may make such provision as it thinks is adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances.

Mr. Justice McEwan, in Haegedorn v. Haegedorn, 2010 BCSC 836, dismissed Sheila Haegedorn’s claim, and did not vary the will. He held that although Robina Haegedorn had not treated her children equally in her will, she had rational and valid reasons for leaving her other children larger interests in the land in order to equalize the interests of the three children.

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