Property disbursement rights at center of estate dispute

When Robert McCorkill died in 2004, he left much of his valuable property to a United States white supremacist group known as the National Alliance. Is this his right as a citizen of Canada, or does the fact that it is against "public policy" mean the bequest should be barred? This is one of the main questions at the center of the estate dispute.

The Canadian Association for Free Expression, or CAFÉ, wants the Supreme Court of Canada to review the McCorkill case and it hopes a decision made by the Ontario Court of Appeal will help its efforts. Earlier in March of 2016, the court of appeal reinstated a Jamaican preacher's will which disinherited a daughter allegedly because she had a child with a Caucasian.

Reportedly, the preacher disinherited the daughter he raised in favor of a daughter he had not seen for 30 years. A court decided this will was based on racist principles and nullified it, but the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the decision and reinstated the document.

Now, CAFÉ is citing this recent case as possible grounds for the Supreme Court to review the McCorkill will. CAFÉ has stated that nullifying McCorkill's will opens the door to "endless litigation" anytime a citizen leaves property to controversial people or organizations. The association also brings up issues about the people's right to disburse their property however they wish.

Without a doubt, McCorkill's will does raise questions about property rights, but at the same time, clearly racist wills do appear to violate Canadian laws against hate propaganda. This example of estate litigation shows the importance of a lawyer's advice when creating a will or when challenging a will in British Columbia and all other Canadian provinces. What do you think about the McCorkill will, and what are your thoughts on whether his last wishes should be honored?

Source: CBC News, "Robert McCorkill estate dispute warrants Supreme Court review, group argues," Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, March 24, 2016

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