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Aunt and Nephew Settle on How to Split Disputed $1.2 Lottery Win

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Aunt and Nephew Settle on How to Split Disputed $1.2 Lottery Win

In a decision in an unusual recent Nova Scotia case, the court introduced the factual narrative this way:

In July 2018, a winning ticket bearing the names of Barbara Ann Reddick, and her nephew, Tyrone MacInnis, was drawn at the popular Chase the Ace lottery in Margaree.  The lottery organizers then flipped over the ace of spades, earning the individuals named on the ticket a total prize of $1.2 million.  The organizers issued the proceeds in two separate cheques, dividing the total prize equally between Ms. Reddick and Mr. MacInnis.

Unfortunately, what should have been a joyous event in their lives has led them to this courtroom.  A dispute has arisen, with Ms. Reddick claiming the ticket belonged to her alone, and that she is entitled to the entirety of the prize money.  She has filed legal action to recover the one-half share of the lottery winnings awarded to Mr. MacInnis.

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Needless to say, the dispute has spun into a “he said/she said” account of whether the winning ticket – which bore both of their names – was intended to be a jointly-held.   The 19-year-old nephew said that he and his aunt agreed to split the winnings if the ticket won; the aunt disagreed, stating that she had never offered to split the $1.2 million grand prize, only the smaller cash prize on an intermediate draw.  And while she conceded that she had added his name to the face of the ticket, she said she had done so only “for luck”.

Since the nephew had been awarded half the prize by the lottery organizers, the aunt obtained a Preservation Order over those funds pending the outcome of the litigation.  Hastening to add that it was not a comment on the nephew’s “good faith, or on his ability to manage his finances in a responsible manner”, the court granted the Order because it was unlikely that the nephew would be able to repay over $600,000 if he spent the money but ended up losing at trial.  He was currently living at home, and working at Tim Horton’s part-time during the school year and in the summers.

Fortunately, that Preservation Order was as far as the litigation had to go in this matter:  As reported recently these two feuding family members have recently come to a settlement, by agreeing to split the winnings in unequal shares:  The aunt, who had bought the original ticket, would take $872,639.  The nephew would take $350,000.   As the article reports, both were satisfied with the outcome of the settlement.

For the full text of the decision on the Preservation Order, see:

Reddick v MacInnis

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at Russellalexander.com