Supreme Court orders BC woman to pay dead boyfriend’s estate $400,000

The Richmond woman claimed she had lived with her boyfriend for more than two years in a common-law relationship but the judge disagreed, and ordered her to repay the estate $350,000, plus $50,000 for “misconduct, control and dissipation of the assets of an estate” that was “malicious and oppressive.”

Article content

The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered a Richmond woman to pay her dead boyfriend’s estate $400,000 in damages after ruking she took advantage of his vulnerable circumstances and spent money he had intended to leave his children.

Article content

Diana Warriner’s boyfriend died from a fentanyl overdose in October 2018 without writing a will.

Article content

Postmedia News isn’t including the name of the 47-year-old man to protect the identity of his children, who were aged nine and 11 when he died.

Warriner tried to take control of his estate and, in court, she faced the boyfriend’s children as well as their mother, the dead man’s former spouse and the administrator of his estate.

Warriner claimed she had lived with her boyfriend for more than two years in a common-law relationship, which would qualify her to be his spouse at the time of his death, according to the provincial act governing wills, estates and succession.

She also claimed that her boyfriend sent her $350,000 a few days before he died to pay her back for her years of working to support the family.

Article content

But former spouse argued that Warriner was supposed to be holding that money in trust for the children’s benefit and that their relationship was not marriage-like until a few months before his death.

She also said applied “undue influence” on her boyfriend, who was struggling because of his active substance use.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Janet Winteringham found there were inconsistencies in Warriner’s claims about her relationship with the boyfriend and his transfer of money to her.

Warriner claimed she lived with her boyfriend in his family home for more than two years, but the judge concluded they were not living together in a marriage-like relationship for more than two years.

“Ms. Warriner’s evidence on the date she moved into the (family home) was equivocal and inconsistent with the totality of the evidence presented, including the documentary record,” she wrote.

Article content

Winteringham noted that although there was a dental benefits application form  in 2016 stating that Warriner had moved in with the man in April 2015, it was Warriner who had filled in the form. She also noted that Warriner continued to use her own Richmond address for her driver’s licence, automobile insurance, and Canada Revenue Agency filings.

The boyfriend’s children, who were 13 and 15 years old when they testified in court about their relationship with their father, also backed the fact that Warriner was not living with him for two years before his death.

There was testimony from the boyfriend’s sister and niece in support of Warriner’s claim, but the judge rejected these because their timelines were unreliable.

Article content

Winteringham wrote that Warriner claimed to have “a very active integrated life with the children … and all of their activities,” but they testified that she only attended a few of their games.

The judge, in summary, said she agreed with counsel’s observation in cross-examination that Warriner really didn’t know the boyfriend very well.

“Notably, she seemed unfamiliar with the severity of his medical issues,” wrote Winteringham. “I have concluded that she made up a story and added certain features to it when necessary.”

She wrote that Warriner admitted she spent all of the $350,000 without accounting for the children.

She ruled that Warriner must pay back to the estate the $350,000, as well as punitive damages of $50,000 for “misconduct, control and dissipation of the assets of an estate” that was “malicious and oppressive.”

Article content

Support our journalism: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 per week, you can get unlimited, ad-lite access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The Province.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply