… Do joint tenants who are spouses have homestead rights? At what point can a homestead cease being a homestead? Do homestead rights continue after the untimely death of one of the spouses even though the spouses were separated and had engaged in a course of dealing sufficient to make it clear that they intended their property to be divided equally?
These are the issues defined by Dunlop, J. in Siwak v. Siwak, 2018 MBQB 9. The parties were married and had purchased a home in joint tenancy. They were separated and in the middle of dividing their assets when Mrs. Siwak died. A previous decision (2016 MBQB 61) had severed the property into a tenancy in common. Mrs. Siwak’s estate is seeking partition and sale of the property in order to distribute the assets to her beneficiaries. Mr. Siwak claims he has established an estate for life flowing from his initial homestead rights.
 Even though Mr. Siwak and Mrs. Siwak lived separate and apart for almost one year and nine months before Mrs. Siwak died and despite the fact that they engaged in a course of dealing sufficient to sever the joint tenancy, it is clear that on a strict reading of the Act, Mr. Siwak had homestead rights at the time of Mrs. Siwak’s passing. One of the primary goals of homestead legislation is to provide a surviving spouse with a life estate in a homestead. Upon the death of Mrs. Siwak, Mr. Siwak realized a life estate in the property.
The February 2018 edition, Update No. 86, has just been released.
In This Issue
- Indeterminate Sentences Constitutional: SCC
- Ensuring Juries are Properly Instructed: MBCA
- Photo Lineup Identification Evidence: MBCA
- Role of Exceptional Circumstances in Sentencing “Limited and Rare”: MBCA
- 45 Months’ Delay Unreasonable: MBQB
- Recent Sentencing Decisions
- Provincial Court Notice and Form
- Recommended Reading
- Criminal Justice Conference: CBA
The Manitoba Law Reform Commission is looking for feedback on two consultation reports:
- The Builders’ Liens Act: A Modernized Approach; and
- The Expropriation Act of Manitoba.
The Law Society of Manitoba has published its Mission and Values and its Strategic Plan 2017-2020 on their website.
All of Manitoba’s online systems will be unavailable from 5:00 p.m. February 16 to 8:00 a.m. February 20 in order to upgrade the site. This will include Manitoba Courts, Manitoba Laws and the Legislative Assembly.
The Great Library will be closed on Monday, February 19 for Louis Riel Day. Lawyers may access the library between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. by signing in at the security desk.
The Canadian Association of Law Libraries/Association canadienne des bibliothèques de droit (CALL/ACBD) is offering a webinar on U.S. Executive Branch Research for the Canadian legal researcher.
This program will cover the structure of the executive branch of the government as it relates to the creation and publication of administrative law in the United States. As in previous seminars led by Professor Hazelton, US and Canadian systems will be compared.
Biography of presenter Professor Penny Hazelton:
Penny Hazelton worked as a law librarian for over 44 years at the University of Washington, the US Supreme Court Library, and the University of Maine. She has enjoyed teaching legal research to law students, lawyers, judges, prisoners, librarians, and members of the public. She is the editor of Specialized Legal Research and co-author of the Washington Legal Researcher’s Deskbook.
Prof. Hazelton presented a similar program at the annual CALL/ACBD conference in Vancouver in 2016, which I attended. She helped shed some light on some of the more arcane practices of U.S. legislation as compared to Canadian legislation. This would be a great opportunity for anyone who needs a primer on U.S. legal research.
CALL/ACBD webinars are very reasonably priced at $45 for members, and $60 for non-members. (Disclaimer: I am on the Board of Directors for CALL/ACBD.)
The February 2018 edition of Communiqué, the Law Society of Manitoba’s newsletter, has just been published.
Featured content includes:
- An introduction to our new Equity Officer and Policy Counsel, Alissa Schacter;
- A timely article from General Counsel Darcia Senft on the duty of counsel to sign court orders and consent orders when your client instructs you not to;
- A reminder to report your CPD activities; and
- A very informative article from Karen Dyck at the Manitoba Law Foundation on where the interest from your trust account goes.