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Local Lawyer Takes Her Vegas Vows?

A recent endorsement by Regional Senior Justice C. MacLeod, reported as Re Estate of Tanya Claudia Davies, 2022 ONSC 2009, tells the story of Ottawa native Tanya Claudia Davies who died intestate on September 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA). Unfortunately, she had been infected with, and succumbed to, COVID-19. Ms. Davies’ surviving parents made a motion in writing containing an Application for a Certificate of Appointment as Estate Trustee Without a Will and a motion to dispense with the posting of an associated bond.

An estate administration bond is a form of security posted by an estate trustee to confirm compliance with their duties as trustee under a will and/or law. This bond is required to be filed with a probate application where, among other situations, the deceased died without a will. Upon application, it is within the Court’s purview to dispense with the posting of this bond.

According to the endorsement, the Applicants failed to satisfy Justice MacLeod with respect to their list of estate assets and details of sufficient notice of their application and motion. For example, the Applicants failed to disclose that the deceased owned and operated the law firm, Davies Family Law, and—apparently—married celebrity Russian singer, Prokhor Chaliapin.

Recall, Ms. Davies died in Las Vegas. Justice MacLeod points out:

[4]           In addition, the affidavits are silent about why Ms. Davies was in Las Vegas.  This is important because the court was advised on an earlier date in the context of certain proceedings in which Ms. Davies was counsel that she was married in Las Vegas prior to her death.

[5]           Reports of a marriage to a Russian citizen were also circulating on the internet.  In fact, there is an entry on the Wikipedia page of one Prokhor Chaliapin, that he married Tanya Davies on July 31, 2021.  Rumours and internet postings do not establish facts, but in the context of an application to proceed as an intestacy and certainly in the context of dispensing with a bond, this requires an explanation and possibly notice to the supposed spouse.

[emphasis added]

Mr. Chaliapin’s Wikipedia page provides that:

On 31 July 2021, Chaliapin married his third wife Tanya Davies, a 46-year-old Canadian citizen, in a secret and private ceremony in Las Vegas. The two had met in Monaco in 2019 and started dating in early 2020. The couple kept their relationship mostly outside of the public eye. She proposed to Chaliapin in late 2020. Shortly after the wedding ceremony, Chaliapin’s wife fell ill with COVID-19 and was hospitalised [sic] not much later. She passed away as a result of complications of the illness on 25 September, less than two months after the wedding.

[emphasis added]

I, like Justice MacLeod, appreciate that internet rumours and Wiki-pages are not facts. But I will admit, in this case, I can see why they gave the Court pause. Clicking through the Wikipedia page and its sources reveals photos and details of a lavish, expensive and quite public wedding between Mr. Chaliapin and the deceased. Was the wedding ceremony so secret and private that the Applicants had no knowledge of it? Maybe. Perhaps the wedding ceremony was loud and lavish? It’s possible. What is clear is that the Applicants took little-to-no steps to ascertain the true nature of their daughter’s trip to Las Vegas and whether the trip included a legal wedding ceremony.

It appears that the Applicants failed to properly ascertain those who are to receive notice of their application. When asking the Court to exercise its authority and discretion, one is best to be sure they have undertaken the necessary searches, provided the necessary disclosure, and, as seen in the endorsement, given proper notice to those entitled to it. The administration of Ms. Davies’ estate is in its infancy, and it appears there is much work to be done by her parents as they press forward to wrap up her affairs.


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