Ontario Superior Court ensures equitable distribution for ‘developmentally delayed’ heir

A judicial mediation ended the decade-long estate dispute

Ontario Superior Court ensures equitable distribution for ‘developmentally delayed’ heir

In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ensured an equitable distribution of the estate of Basile Sipidias, focusing on the fair treatment of his 'developmentally delayed' heir.

In Sipidias v. Sipidias, 2024 ONSC 1000, the court brought closure to the prolonged legal battle surrounding the estate of Basile Sipidias, who passed away on September 6, 2011. The litigation centred around the division of Basile's estate among his five children, a matter that has embroiled the family in courtrooms since his death.

Basile Sipidias left behind an estate to be equally shared among his children, Theodore, Evangeline, Irena, Constantin, and George, with specific instructions for the care and financial management of his youngest son, George, who is developmentally delayed. The estate’s most significant asset, a home in Toronto, became a focal point of the dispute when it was transferred to Irena before Basile's death. This led to allegations from the other siblings that the home was wrongfully excluded from the estate.

After years of legal proceedings, the siblings sought resolution through mediation. The case underwent a private mediation, which did not yield a settlement. It eventually proceeded to a judicial mediation, culminating in a proposed settlement to distribute the remaining estate assets among the siblings equitably, with particular care given to George’s needs.

The agreement detailed the division of $566,832 in estate assets, establishing an investment account for George's benefit, to be managed by his siblings with professional advice to ensure his government benefits remain unaffected. Despite initial consensus, disputes arose over the accuracy of estate calculations and the inclusion of specific assets, leading to further court interventions.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice carefully reviewed the mediation events to ascertain whether a settlement had been reached. The analysis confirmed that the parties had agreed to the essential terms of the settlement during the mediation.  Despite subsequent objections from Dan Sipidias, the court found the settlement to be in the best interest of all parties, particularly George, who depended on the estate for his welfare. Ultimately, the court approved the agreement reached at the judicial mediation.

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