Ontario Executor Advice – Play It Safe: First, Hire an Estate Lawyer

Albert didn’t bother talking to a lawyer. He was executor of his uncle’s estate. He didn’t realize the size of the estate’s tax liabilities. Uncle’s RRSPs were transferred directly to his designated beneficiaries. Unknown to Albert, those assets carried income tax liabilities.  

 Albert’s uncle left his $100,000 RRSP to his sister, which generated almost $50,000 of income tax liabilities. The uncle’s estate was responsible to pay these taxes. Albert distributed the estate’s cash to other beneficiaries. 

Albert did not have enough money to pay estate expenses and income tax bills. The beneficiaries were not happy, they had to pay back money. If Albert had contacted an estate lawyer, he would known about this estate income tax liabilities. 

Executor’s Duties Do Not Include Legal Work

You are expected to handle executor work but not the estate’s legal work.

If you are an executor, legal work is paid for by the estate.  

Get answers to your top 10 executor questions:  

1. Should you accept the job of acting as executor or refuse it?

2. Is the will legally valid? Will is be challenged? 

3. What are your rights and responsibilities as executor? 

4. What information is required for probate? 

5. When can you transfer estate assets and property? 

6. How do you protect yourself from creditors and hostile beneficiaries? 

7. When do you have to pay income taxes? 

8. How do you distribute and close the estate?  

9. How much are you entitled to be paid?  

10. Will all beneficiaries need to approve your compensation? 

Search the internet to get background information about your estate lawyers’ experience. Call and interview the firm. Ask your financial planner, banker or accountant to recommend an estate lawyer in your neighbourhood. 

Are You Probating Your Spouse’s Estate?

You may need legal advice to update your own estate planning documents (wills, powers of attorney, beneficiary designations, etc.) 

Legal advice can make a difference. It is an investment to benefit loved ones.  

Ontario Executor Tip: Getting proper legal advice will keep you out of trouble.   

I work by appointment only. Contact my office to set up a call.

Don’t forget to read my free report, Suddenly You’re an Ontario Executor… Start Your Estate Journey Here .

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Edward Olkovich is a Toronto-based Estate Lawyer and a Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law.