equalization payment under Family Law Act and entitlement under
Succession Law Reform Act — Application allowed — Administration of
complex international estate being difficult — Applicant requiring additional time to assemble reasonable knowledge base from which to make
informed choice — Delay explainable and incurred in good faith —
Extension of time causing minimal prejudice to estate — One-year
extension granted — Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3 — Succession
Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26.
The applicant’s husband died intestate shortly after receiving a cancer diagnosis. The deceased’s complex international estate would not be an easy one to
administer. As yet, the estate had no administrator. The applicant brought an
application to extend the six-month deadline under s. 6 of the Family Law Act
(“FLA”) for electing to receive an equalization payment under the FLA in lieu of
her entitlement under the Succession Law Reform Act.
Held, the application should be allowed.
Any time prescribed by the FLA can be extended pursuant to s. 2(8) of the FLA
if there are apparent grounds for relief, relief is unavailable because of delay that
has been incurred in good faith, and no person would suffer substantial prejudice
by reason of the delay. There are grounds for relief when the electing spouse has
not been able to assemble a reasonable knowledge base from which an informed
choice might fairly be expected to be made. That was the case here; the complex
and international nature of the deceased’s business interests would take more
time to understand and evaluate. The delay, such as there had been, was explainable and incurred in good faith. The delay would cause minimal prejudice to the
estate. A one-year extension was granted.
Statutes referred to
Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, ss. 2(8), 5, (2), 6 [as am.], (1), (10) [as am.],
Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26, Part II [as am.], ss. 45 [as am.],
APPLICATION to extend time for making an election under s. 6
of the Family Law Act.
Arieh Bloom, for applicant.
No one appearing for respondents.
 DUNPHY J.: — When is it appropriate to extend the time
granted by statute for a surviving spouse to elect in favour
of equalization under the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3
(“FLA”) in lieu of the regime applicable under the Succession
Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26 (“SLRA”)?
 These applications are regularly brought before judges
sitting on the Commercial List (who hear estates as well as commercial matters). I am advised by counsel that there is a dearth
of published jurisprudence considering the matter, decisions on
such matters ordinarily being dealt with in short, handwritten