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Understanding Probate

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Understanding Probate

When a loved one passes, there are numerous things you need to address. Your priority should be on coping with your loss, but there are also practical considerations like planning the funeral and settling the estate of the deceased. Whether the deceased left a Will and whether or not they appointed an Estate Trustee will determine how the estate is distributed. And while it is possible for some people to settle the estate of a loved one, an experienced probate lawyer knows what needs to be done in order to probate an estate in a timely manner and can do so at a reasonable cost.

Probate in the Province of Ontario

If the deceased’s estate is probated in Ontario, the Will of the deceased (if any) must be filed with the Superior Court of Justice. This same court issues a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee. The Certificate will vary depending on whether or not the deceased died with a will. The Certificate has the name of the deceased, identifies the estate, and lists the names and addresses of the Estate Trustees. The last Will is appended to the document. The court registrar will sign the Certificate and imprint it with the Court’s seal.

At this point, the estate trustees and involved financial institutions know that they can rely on the last will. If there is any dispute about the validity of a will, contact an estate lawyer from Mullowney’s Law. Should all proceed correctly, the estate trustee will act in the stead of the deceased.

There are other matters that must be dealt with through probate, such as income tax issues, requesting the court’s permission for various actions and retitling the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries.

Estate Administration Tax

During the probate process, the Estate Administration Tax must be paid. The tax is calculated based on the final valuation of the Estate. The Ontario probate tax is $5 for each $1,000 of the first $50,000 (therefore $250 for an estate of $50,000). An additional tax of $15 applies to each additional $1,000 over $50,000. After the tax is calculated, a cheque must be made payable to the Minister of Finance and submitted with the Application for the Certificate. A probate lawyer can help you understand probate fees and avoid the common mistakes made by people who apply for a Certificate.

When a Will Needs to Be Probated

Probate is generally necessary when the deceased has a large estate. Financial institutions are often hesitant to release funds unless a probate certificate is presented, due to the risk of fraud. The probate certificate releases financial institutions of any liability issues related to a fraudulent transaction.

A large estate is not the only instance in which probate is necessary, of course. Probate is a common part of the estate administration process, but in the end makes it easier to proceed with estate liquidation.

If you have any questions about will probate or will contests, call an Ottawa probate lawyer from Mullowney’s Law to schedule a consultation.

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