Estate planning and litigation professionals are still mulling over how the legalization of same-sex marriage will affect their practices. Even more complex developments may be in the offing. 

An allegedly polygamist community in British Columbia and increased concerns about the possibility of polygamy elsewhere in all but name in other regions of the country raise any number of issues, not only of policy, but also estate planning.

For example, if someone dies leaving multiple spouses but only one legally-married spouse, what advantages would the legally-married spouse have over the others in the division of a contested estate?

How will the fact that bigamy and polygamy remain illegal play out in civil estate disputes?

If proscriptions on polygamy are or become ignored by governments, will the law evolve? And as it did in the case of same-sex marriage, what happens if bigamy or polygamy becomes legal, since families may become large enough that dependant’s support claims could exhaust most estates rendering much estate planning redundant?

Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Sean Graham