The two daughters of a deceased Côte St. Luc resident recently emerged victorious in court over the former resident’s extramarital lover in a dispute over the resident’s will.
The case, presided over by Superior Court Judge Frédéric Bachand, was brought by the lover against the two daughters and the resident’s wife.
The resident, who was quite wealthy and owned homes in several locales, died several months following a leukemia diagnosis in October 2012 at the age of 91.
The case surrounds the validity of three wills the resident authorized in 2012. The first will included the lover, but she was not mentioned in two subsequent wills authorized in September, not long before the resident died and when he was in hospital.
According to the facts of the case, the resident and his wife came to Canada in the late 1950s with their two daughters, and he became a successful and wealthy businessman.
The resident and the lover became involved in 1982, and starting in the early 2000s, lived in a luxury home in CSL until his death. The resident and his actual wife never divorced.
Also according to the facts of the case, the resident paid most of the money for the home, the lover received a monthly allowance of $3,000 and, along with that, a payment of more than $400,000 and a car worth almost $100,000.
The resident was diagnosed with leukemia in the winter of 2012, and in April, transferred his share of the CSL property to his lover for $1, left her $700,000 (overriding previous wills), and intended to leave his actual wife his properties in Town of Mount Royal and Florida. He also included provisions that should his wishes be challenged in court, to give the lover $375,000 and his interest in the CSL property, including its furniture and other contents
Later, in August, as a result of the leukemia’s effects on him, the resident was admitted to the Jewish General Hospital in late August and on Aug. 30, he had fallen and suffered head injuries and respiratory complications. In the meantime, the lover deposited a cheque for $275,000 purportedly signed by the resident — the daughters contended the lover signed the cheque herself.
The lover contends that while the resident was in the ICU, as allegedly overheard by someone else in the section of the hospital, the resident was pressured by his daughters to change his will and that he was told the lover was seeing somebody else.
The resident then did change his will, and removed references to the lover. As well, the $275,000 cheque transferred to the lover’s account was returned to that of the resident. The resident said he did not remember signing the cheque. He later signed more legal documents that omitted mention of the lover.
On Sept. 27, 2012, psychiatric evaluations concluded that the resident was capable of making decisions about his treatment, but the lover contends in her case that he was not mentally capable of making complex decisions regarding wills. The judge disagreed.
As well, “because of the significant gifts that [the lover] had received in 2011 and 2012 — gifts that are probably worth more than $1 million when the transfer of [the resident’s] share of the CSL property is taken into consideration — it cannot be said that [the resident’s] last will runs afoul of his general intention to ensure that [the lover] would live comfortably after his death,” the judge wrote.
The judge ultimately ruled that the later wills omitting the lover were not invalid for reasons of mental incapacity.
In a borough where almost a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line.
Plan 45 000 – a borough initiative – can be easily described as a big and positive step in the right direction.
As the first sentence informs the reader that the document is not just a poverty report as much as “...it’s a call to action,” the report goes on to define the problem after which it provides a number of local solutions that could help alleviate at least some of what it means to be poor in Montreal. Originally established under the Copeman administration, the round table includes several well-known members of the local community who agreed to donate time, effort, and especially their experience to put together ‘Plan 45 000’ that could become a beacon for similar efforts throughout the island.
According to this report, five priorities define poverty throughout the borough. While housing and income issues are always a major factor, the report also considered other factors including work-related issues such as public transit and how food security can affect someone’s day-to-day life in the big city. While some issues — such as Québec’s minimum wage laws and shrinking pensions continue to be an almost insurmountable problem, others – such as decrepit (rental) housing infrastructure – should be considered to be a borough problem that requires little more than a political will to fix it. To that end, the report recommends that borough housing inspectors adopt a regular inspection schedule that will require every commercial apartment building in the borough to be inspected at least once over a three year period.
According to Jim Hughes – the well-known anti-poverty activist and former deputy minister who led the effort to produce ‘Plan 45 000’ – the borough is already doing a good job, “...but it’s not enough.” Due to the fact that many of the borough’s poor have a number of problems (mental issues, language, health etc.) that might prevent them from reaching out to get some help, he believes that it’s up to the borough to have its inspectors visit and inspect every apartment building in the borough.
Other recommendations include subsidized transit passes for the borough’s poor along with all the usual calls for more subsidized housing.
While the poverty report often includes a lot of wishful thinking on the part of its authors, it also includes a lot of practical recommendations –especially the one about regular housing inspections – that could make a difference for thousands of people who live in the borough. If that’s what it takes to get things done, this report can be considered to be at least one job well done.