Separated for 11 years but not divorced
Our client, the Wife of the deceased, and her Husband had separated 11 years prior, but they had not formally separated their assets, nor had they divorced. The Wife had remained in the family home and the Husband had remained in their investment property. Each of the assets was owned jointly, so the Wife was set to inherit the investment property upon the Husband’s death. The Husband and Wife were not amicable and hadn’t spoken for at least 5 years.
Just before the Husband’s death, one of their 2 daughters had asked the Wife to sign a transfer of land transferring the Husband’s share of the investment properties back to him before his death. The daughter claimed it was something that he needed her to sign to refinance his car loan with the bank. The Wife signed the document, not knowing it was a transfer of the investment property, as she was illiterate.
We sought to have the transfer set aside if the daughters would not provide the Wife with a reasonable settlement in exchange for the interest, she would have received in the investment property had the Husband and Wife formalized their separation.
We invited the daughters to mediation, but they refused to make a reasonable offer until we issued Court proceedings.
We prepared court documents establishing the daughter’s actions and seeking to have the transfer set aside on the basis of fraud, which would result in the wife receiving 100% of the Husband’s farm asset in addition to retaining her own home.
After the Court documents were filed, the daughters changed their mind about the offer on the strength of the evidence against them and made our client an offer to pay her a sum equal to 1/3 of the value of the assets which remained in the Husband’s estate.
Our client happily accepted the offer on the basis that it was a similar result to the one she would have had, had the parties formally separated their assets 11 years prior.
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