Highlights of Noteworthy Decisions

Decision 548 18
A. Patterson - D. Thomson - M. Tzaferis
  • Death (maintenance of claim by estate)

The worker was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 2000, and died in January 2001. The worker's widow appealed a decision of the Appeals Resolution Officer denying entitlement for the lung cancer.

In this decision, the Panel considered the preliminary issue of whether the widow was authorized to pursue this appeal on behalf of the estate.
The worker did not leave a will. The widow has not applied for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee without a will. The worker and the widow had one adopted son. The worker had previously been married and had five children. The worker was divorced from the previous wife in 1991, and had married the widow in 1992.
It appeared to the Panel that the children from the first marriage likely have an interest in the outcome of the appeal. The Panel found the widow's efforts, to contact the ex-wife and the children from the first marriage and obtain consent to represent them, to be insufficient. The widow and her son had made some unsuccessful efforts to contact one of the sons from the previous marriage, but did not appear to have made an effort to locate the other four children or the ex-wife. The widow also failed to provide information requested by the Panel regarding how she has been treated by other government agencies or third parties in terms of acting for the estate. She also failed to provide information regarding terms of the 1991 divorce, particularly with respect to financial obligations.
In the circumstances, the widow was not entitled to represent the estate. The Panel noted that this decision did not bar the widow from re-applying after locating the other children and the ex-wife, or if she provides the Tribunal with evidence to establish that she has made sufficient efforts to locate them, evidence of treatment by other agencies and evidence regarding the divorce.