William Werbenuk died more than two years ago with just enough money in the bank to pay for his funeral. The 86-year-old widower’s will gave all assets to his only son, Randall, and left his four daughters with nothing.
This week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge overturned the Penticton, B.C., man’s will, saying his estate should be distributed to all of the man’s children based on ‘‘contemporary moral standards’’ − a move that has sparked much debate about a judge’s right to change a person’s will after they die.
Justice Randall Wong ordered the estate, including Mr. Werbenuk’s Saskatchewan farmland and a valuable and extensive violin collection, be split according to need among Mr. Werbenuk’s son and four daughters, three of whom testified having endured years of abuse at the hands of their father.
The daughters have a “valid moral claim to share in the family wealth,” Judge Wong ruled.