Ontario Executors Require Answers to Questions: What is involved when you probate an estate?

What is involved when you probate an estate?

Probate is a legal process that certifies who is entitled to control the estate as executor. It also decides who shares in the estate (beneficiaries).

Technically, a will is probated and an estate is administered. Most people informally refer to probate as:

  • settling an estate
  • paying bills
  • distributing assets to beneficiaries

Probate or estate courts handle estate matters. They may be surrogate or chancery courts in different jurisdictions.

Your lawyer will complete the paperwork and file it with the appropriate court to probate a will. Notice is sent to everyone named in the will. They are entitled to be notified that you are probating the will.

Probate is usually required by banks and brokers to sell or transfer assets. You may be able to open an estate bank account and deposit estate money. Banks will usually require probate to distribute estate funds.

In Ontario, estate trustees are required to file an estate information return. This is filed with the Ministry of Finance. Filing must be delivered within 90 calendar days of receipt of the estate certificate. This certificate confirms the will was probated. Estate Information Returns (EIRs) are designed to enforce compliance with the Estate Administration Tax Act.

Fines and penalties are imposed if the EIR is not filed.

Amended EIRs must be filed to correct financial values. Additional provincial estate tax must also be paid. Read more about EIRs.
About Edward Olkovich

I am a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law. I edit Carswell’s legal guide Compensation and Duties of Estate Trustees, Guardians and Attorneys. I have handled estate disputes and probate problems since 1978.