Mother 1 v. Solus Trust Company Limited and Christopher Scott Johnson, as Administrators of the Estate of Gang Yuan, deceased, et al.

(British Columbia) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case)


Wills and estates - Intestacy - Wills and Estates — Intestacy — Preferential share — What is the legal test to establish a marriage-like relationship. .


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Y was killed in May 2015 and he died intestate. When he died, Y had five children from relationships with five different women. He did not marry any of the women. He spent time with all of them, provided them with various levels of financial support and expensive gifts. The applicant, Mother 1, did not know of the existence of the other four women until after Y’s death. The relationships overlapped in time. Throughout, Y also maintained an online dating profile. Mother 1 claimed that under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, c. 13, she is Y’s spouse. If Mother 1 is considered Y’s spouse, then she would be entitled to a preferential share plus half of Y’s estate and the children would be entitled to the other half. If she is not a spouse under the Act, the children would be entitled to share the total value of the estate between themselves. Y’s estate is estimated to be worth between $7 and 21 million. The respondents are the administrators of Y’s estate as well as Y’s five children.

The trial judge concluded that there was no marriage-like relationship between Mother 1 and Y and she was therefore not a “spouse” pursuant to the Act. Alternatively, if such a relationship did exist, it was terminated by Y in 2011. In further alternative, it was terminated by Y in 2014. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by Mother 1.