Some people write protest Wills - Wills where they make a statement to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. Are these Wills valid in Canada?
Mr. McCorkill died in February 2004. In his Will, after paying his debts and taxes, he left his estate to the “NATIONAL ALLIANCE, a Virginia corporation”, an organization who was described as racist, white supremacist, and hate-inspired. Isabelle, Mr. McCorkill’s sister, applied to the New Brunswick courts to set her brother’s Will aside. She said the Will should be declared illegal and contrary to public policy.
Naturally, the circumstances attracted wide spread attention and permission was granted to allow other organizations to participate in the hearing, such as the Province of New Brunswick, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, the League for Human Rights of B’Nai Brith Canada, and the Canadian Association for Free Expression.
When all was said and done, the court agreed that the National Alliance and its activities and communications were indeed racist, white supremacist, and hate-inspired. This was contrary to the Canadian Criminal Code
and to public policy of both Canada and New Brunswick. The court ordered that the estate should instead be divided amongst Mr. McCorkill’s next of kin.
Unsuccessful appeals were made to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick and then to the Supreme Court of Canada so the Judgment stands as law. The lesson from this case (or at least one of them) is that protest Wills may not be worth the paper they are written on.