Justice May Not Bring Happiness

The parties in Kachur Estate v Kachur, 2021 ABCA 343, were given a substantial estate by their brother, Walter Kachur, worth over $1.4 million gross, before they began to fight over it. Mr. Kachur wanted to give his brother and nephews the ability to farm and profit from his four quarter sections of land, his cows, and his grazing lease. His sisters would get his money.

However, all the family wanted to maximize what they could receive. The sisters wanted to minimize the expenses repayable to the Personal Representative of the estate, who was Mr. Kachur’s neighbour and friend. They also wanted to protect their gift of money from having to pay for legal fees. The brother did not trust the Personal Representative and wanted to do as he wished with his life estate over property and equipment. The nephews did not trust the brother to do this responsibly. The Personal Representative only wanted to be fairly compensated for his troubles.

By the end of it, the litigation costs amounted to such that the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta ordered the estate to sell one of the quarter sections of land just to pay $158,000 plus interest to the estate to allow a distribution of money to the sisters. Naturally, the brother and nephews appealed this, generating additional legal costs. They were unsuccessful at the Court of Appeal of Alberta, but a further appearance in Case Management would be needed to determine a further issue not originally decided, adding even more costs.

The parties may have gotten answers to many of their disputes, but courts were united in their concern for the estate. The estate’s value was being reduced by unnecessary litigation over the past 8 years. Had there been no fighting, it seemed plausible that no land would have had to be sold. The courts pleaded with the parties to stop their fighting, stating, “The bleeding has to stop.”