Husband had another secret family in a different part of town

A recent story online describes an estate dispute from British Columbia between a wife and the secret family of her late husband. Most of this information is also  available in the February 26, 2021 decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Boughton v Widner Estate, 2021 BCSC 325.

Michael Widner was killed in March of 2017 and left behind two women claiming to be his spouse with rights to his assets. Sabrina Widner married Michael in 2008. They had two children born in 2005 and 2006. Sara Boughton started a relationship with Michael sometime in 2009. He allegedly promised her he would leave his wife and they had two children born in 2014 and 2015. Sara knew of Sabrina while Sabrina only learned about Michael’s secret family with Sara after his death.

During her marriage to Michael, Sabrina was listed as the sole owner of three properties. She took the position that Michael had no interest in these properties.

Sara commenced litigation against Michael’s estate. She took the position that during their relationship he told her many times that he paid for several properties which were registered in Sabrina’s name. She also took the position that Michael’s estate should include half of the value of the properties held in Sabrina’s name. That included the proceeds from a house that was sold.

The trial took place in Victoria, British Columbia on April 1-3, 2019 and on August 10-14 and 17, 2020. The judgment was released on February 26, 2021 by the Honourable Madam Justice Duncan.

The Court decided that both Sabrina and Sara qualified as spouses

In her decision, Justice Duncan wrote that Michael had ” left a complicated legacy” and ruled that Sabrina and Sara were both entitled to share in the estate. Each was to receive half. Justice Duncan also decided that Michael’s estate should include some of the cash he had contributed to Sabrina’s mortgages over the years. As a result, Sabrina was ordered to pay $150,000 with interest to the estate. This amount would also be divided between the two families.

Justice Duncan also commented that Michael was able to maintain two separate households because he told Sabrina he was working part of the week on the other side of Vancouver Island, away from his home with Sabrina while he was actually spending time with Sara. He apparently alternated between the two households and kept a regular schedule.

The decision also noted that Michael may have been associated with the Hells Angels. His murder remains unsolved. It is also interesting to note that Michael’s parents testified that they knew about Sara and the second family but never told Sabrina or Sabrina’s children. Michael’s siblings did not know Sara and the younger children when Michael was killed.

This story is a good example of how estate dispute cases sometimes seem stranger than fiction.

It is unclear if this matter will be appealed. This will be an interesting story to follow. More on this story here.