Support After Death? Can Your Ex Apply for Support From Your Estate?

August 9, 2013
Ron Shulman

Article written by Ron Shulman

In a recent post, I talked about the fact that if you have a spouse from whom you are separated or divorced, you may have an obligation to pay spousal or child support to him or her even after you die, by way of your Estate and its assets.

Surprising as that may be, a related point to know is that as a former spouse your support-paying obligations can also be changed or increased after your death.

Specifically, if you have not made adequate provision in your Will for your surviving spouse or any children, or if the level of support you had been paying to them prior to death turn out to be inadequate later on, then your surviving spouse or child can make a legal claim against your Estate.   Their right to do so arises under Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act; if their claim is warranted then a court may order your Estate to pay them support in an amount the court considers “adequate”.  Note that the person who makes the application must be a “dependant”, which is defined to include a spouse, parent, brother or sister, or child, and can even extend to the child of another partner in some circumstances.

Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide practical advice and effective representation relating to the steps and processes involved in separating and getting divorced in Ontario.   Contact us to set up a consultation.