Probate is one of those legal terms you’ve probably heard of at some point. It’s also a word you may find confusing. If you’ve been named executor of a loved one’s Will, you will be expected to carry out the process known as probate.
Simply put, probate is verifying a person’s will through the courts. If the deceased owned property or had any assets at the time of their passing, Ontario law stipulates that you will likely need to apply for probate.
Whether you’ve been named as an estate trustee or you need to assign someone else to act as executor, you’ll need to submit an application through the courts.
Keep in mind that you will be charged $155 for your initial probate application. The Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee they send back will cost you $100.
However, there are certain exemptions and some properties that may be exempt. That’s why it’s always recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure the situation is handled in full compliance with the law.
Legal Advice for Ontario Probate
Although you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to apply for probate, working with an experienced solicitor will ensure your application meets all the requirements. All assets must be calculated correctly. With a lawyer, you can rest assured that your application won’t be rejected on any technical grounds.
A lawyer who specializes in wills, estates and trusts can help you throughout the process as you fulfill your duties.
The death of a loved one is an emotional experience. Sometimes the resulting obligations can be overwhelming. A lawyer will see that your administrative responsibilities to that person are fulfilled.
As difficult a time as it may be, there are protocols that need to be followed in a timely fashion.
As the executor, you must apply for probate within 30 days of the person’s death. This is done to receive a Grant of Probate. The authorization you receive is required by law to conduct your duties as executor.
Your application to the Superior Court of Justice will include the following:
- A copy of the will
- A certified copy of the death certificate
- A list of the person’s assets and debts
- All the beneficiaries’ names
- Your contact info
Should you miss this 30-day application window, you’ll need to explain why.
Voluntary and Mandatory Probate
Voluntary probate means that the validity of the will is uncontested.
Unfortunately, life is not always so straightforward. Mandatory probate is when one or more parties question the will’s validity. When this situation arises, the final decision rests with a judge.
A lawyer in Ontario can offer guidance to protect your best interests.
Filing an Estate Information Return
Depending on the information you’ve received back from the court (some Certificates of Appointment will be exempt), you will then be required to file an Estate Information Return. This determines the values of the estate and the taxes owed.
You’ll have 180 calendar days to respond online, by mail, courier, or fax, to the Ministry of Finance Compliance Branch office in Oshawa. You can also submit in person at select ServiceOntario locations.
Make sure you provide all requested additional documentation. You should also be aware that you’ll need to hold onto all supporting paperwork for four years.
An Ontario Lawyer Can Help
As you can see, being named the executor of a will involves a fair amount of responsibility.
Should you find yourself in the role and need help with how to proceed, a probate lawyer can help.
Your best bet is to contact a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates. A firm that is familiar with the processes involved will save you time and money. When it comes to a loved one’s possessions and dealing with family members and other beneficiaries, you want the confidence to carry out your duties most efficiently.
Vakili Law in Thornhill, Ontario, is well-versed in the necessary procedures for executing a will. You’ll be amazed at how reassuring some clear-headed legal advice can be.
Valuing estates can be tricky. There are items you don’t have to claim, but there are also deductions you aren’t allowed to make. Legal oversight is always recommended.
From the initial application for probate to locating all assets and paying the deceased person’s taxes, you have a knowledgeable source you can turn to for assistance at Vakili Law.
Contact us today to discuss your probate needs in more detail.