The Impact of Probate Laws on Inherited Properties and Estate Planning in Canada
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Brianna Frith

Brianna Frith

Author, Founder at Endhome

Probate laws play a significant role in the transfer of inherited properties and estate planning in Canada. Though rules and regulations may differ across provinces, it is still important to understand the general legal process of Probate is and how it may affect the will and estate process universally. We will use Ontario as an example for the key points you need to know.

 

First things first, let’s define what probate is. Probate is a legal process that confirms the validity of a will and grants the executor the authority to distribute the assets of the estate according to the wishes of the deceased. The executor is the person responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will, and they have to follow the probate laws to make sure everything is done legally.

 

If you’re the executor of a will, you have to apply for probate within 30 days of the testator’s death. This involves submitting an application to the Superior Court of Justice in the district where the testator lived. You’ll need to include several important documents like the original will, a certified copy of the death certificate, and an inventory of the testator’s assets and debts. Once the court approves the application, you’ll receive a “grant of probate,” which gives you the legal authority to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

 

But here’s the kicker: probate can be expensive. The cost of hiring a lawyer to probate a will in Ontario depends on the size and complexity of the estate. A more complicated estate with multiple properties or beneficiaries may cost more than a simple one. Lawyers usually charge an hourly rate for their services, which can range from $150 to $500 per hour. Plus, there are court fees that must be paid when applying for probate, currently amounting to $155 for the application fee and $100 for the certificate of appointment of estate trustee fee.

 

So, what can you do to avoid these exorbitant costs and complexities? Well, you don’t necessarily need a will, but having an easily authenticated will can help you avoid probate altogether. You can also use investment vehicles that do not require probate, such as joint tenancy, life insurance policies, or registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs). By doing so, you can simplify your estate planning and save your beneficiaries a headache.

 

Lastly, it’s essential to pay off any debts owed by the estate before distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. These debts can include credit card debts, mortgages, and taxes. You don’t want to leave your beneficiaries with a pile of debt to handle after they inherit your assets.

 

This may seem daunting, but having a will and estate plan ready and set up can help your loved ones avoid any hassles in the future. Contact Endhome today to get started with your Will and Estate plan.