Executors and Estate Trustees Beware!!
The late Scott Weiland, beloved American singer and songwriter, died December 3, 2015, leaving behind 2 teen aged children and ex-wife, Mary Forsberg.
Prior to Weiland's death, he had been paying Forsberg $12,519.00 in monthly spousal support and $7,201.00 per month in child support since 2004 and recent reports reveal that Forsberg is now seeking continued child and spousal support in the same amounts from Weiland's estate.
Interestingly, Forsberg is the administrator of Weiland's estate despite the marriage ending over a decade before his death. Nonetheless, Forsberg will still need to obtain a court order for the support she seeks or else she may be liable as administrator for distributing funds from the estate improperly.
Both support payors and recipients should be aware that the obligation to pay support does not end on death. This is important for support payors to consider when drafting wills and planning estates so as to ensure that testators' wishes can actually be carried out and won't be frustrated by unexpected support claims. Perhaps more importantly, support recipients (who may rely on support for their own survival and that of their children) should be aware of the laws in place to protect dependants of deceased persons and take any necessary steps to secure support after the death of the payor.
Much like the American laws governing Weiland's estate, Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA) sets out rules regarding dependant support claims against the estates of Ontarians.
Pursuant to the SLRA, upon r
Just as Ms. Forsberg is claiming support on her own behalf (as a dependant spouse) and also on her children's behalf, a dependant's support claim can be made under the SLRA by the dependant or a dependant's parent.
In order to preserve the funds held by the estate so that same are not distributed to others while there is a pending application for the support of a dependant, a court can also order that the administration of the estate be partially or completely suspended to allow time for the court to make a decision.
An estate administrator or other personal representative of the deceased also has a responsibility to immediately stop distributing funds from the estate as soon as he or she receives notice of a pending application for the support of a dependant.
It is important for dependants to note, however, that there are time limits within which an application must be commenced. Once the letters probate are granted for the deceased's will, any applications for support must be made within 6 months. Although a court retains the power to make orders with respect to any remaining estate funds at the time of an application brought after this 6 month period, there is a risk that there may be no such funds remaining.