In Scurek v. Scurek, 2021 BCCA 178, the British Columbia Court of Appeal once again addressed the thorny question of a will-maker's duty to provide for adult children. The will-maker had divided his estate one-half to the son and one-half equally among his daughter and her two kids (i.e. one-sixth each). The son had $4 million in assets while the daughter was clearly in need.
The trial judge varied the will to give the daughter one-half of the estate, the son two-sixths and the grandchildren one-twelfth each. While the Court of Appeal agreed that a variation was required, it concluded that the trial judge erred by reducing the son's share below that of the daughter's, stating:
It was open to Mr. Scurek to leave Peter a sizeable share of his estate, even given the financial advantages Peter gained outside of the will. It must be recognized that Peter was in partnership with his parents, and had a role in contributing to the building of the estate.
The moral and legal obligations owed to adult children remain a tricky issue, although firmer guidelines are beginning to emerge.