Boughton v Winder -- Estate Battle by Two Spouses of Polygamous Hells Angel
Case brief -- by Amanda Groves, Family, Wills & Estates and Injury Lawyer
Michael Widner, a member of the Hells Angels gang, was murdered in March 2017. Following his death, the curtains were pulled back on his double life for both of his unsuspecting spouses.
Widner had been married to Sabrina Widner since 2000 and they had two children together.
Widner began a relationship with Sara Boughton in 2009. They moved in together within a month and had a son and a daughter together. Widner told Boughton he was going through a divorce that would be settled within three months, but which dragged on for over eight years.
Widner and Boughton rented a house in Shawnigan Lake, about an hour’s drive from Widner’s home with Sabrina Widner in Sooke. Widner would divide his time between the two family homes, telling Sabrina Widner that he was away for work when he was gone. Widner financially supported both households and families entirely, apparently deriving much of his income from the drug trade.
Widner died without a Will. Following his death, Boughton sued for a portion of his Estate. At the heart of the fight between Boughton and Sabrina Widner were the provisions of the Wills, Estates and Successions Act(“WESA”) and how they govern a situation involving the division of an estate for two concurrent spouses. WESA defines a spouse for the purpose of that Act as being married or living with each other in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years. Both Boughton and Sabrina Widner clearly fell into this definition.
Madam Justice Duncan, in her judgement earlier this year, held that it was clear the legislature intended for more than one spouse to have a share in the estate, even if they were in concurrent, polygamous relationships. She ordered that Widner’s estate be divided equally between Sabrina Widner and Boughton.
For the full judgment click HERE (Boughton v. Widner Estate, 2021 BCSC 325)
For CBC News coverage of story click HERE