In a recent court decision, the Honourable Justice Stinson considered a motion from competing family members for the appointment of an estate trustee during litigation.
In Buswa v. Canzoneri, the Deceased died without a Will on September 29, 2010. The Deceased did not have a spouse and was survived by seven siblings, and two children.
The concern in this case was that the Deceased did not leave anyone with legal authority or responsibility to arrange his funeral and dispose of his remains.
Two of the Deceased’s siblings, the Applicants, applied for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will. The daughter of the Deceased, the Respondent, also applied for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will.
In his decision, the Honourable Justice Stinson considered the legal interpretation of section 29 of the Estates Act, which reads as follows:
1) Subject to subsection (3), where a person dies intestate … administration of the property of the deceased may be committed by the Superior Court of Justice to:
a) the person to whom the deceased was married immediately before the death of the deceased or person with whom the deceased was living in a conjugal relationship outside marriage immediately before the death;
b) the next of kin of the deceased;
As the Deceased did not have a spouse, the court considered the definition of “next of kin.” In the Black’s Law Dictionary, “next of kin” is defined as “the person’s nearest of kindred to the decedent, that is, those who are most nearly related by blood.”
Applying these concepts, the court held that the Respondent daughter was related to the Deceased by blood in the first degree, whereas the Applicants siblings were related to the Deceased in the second degree. Accordingly, the Respondent daughter was appointed as the Estate Trustee During Litigation.
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Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.