What to Expect When You Probate Ontario Estates – Part 1


This post explains part of the probate estate process in Ontario. It does not explain your legal duties if you are an estate personal representative, executor or estate trustee.

You should obtain legal advice before you act as an executor or an estate trustee. The sooner you obtain this advice the safer you will be. Acting as an executor can create personal liability. You should obtain experienced legal advice to know your options.

Read my other free reports before you act and avoid getting into trouble:

Executor Duties: What You Need to Know

Executor Mistakes: 10 Things Executors Must Never Do

Now back to Ontario probate processes.

Find the Original Will

First, if there is a will you must find it. If there is no will, then you must confirm to the court what reasonable searches were done to locate any will. Normally, you would need legal advice about what is reasonable in the circumstances.

You must submit the original will to the estate court. Your estate court application confirms your appointment as estate trustee with a will or without a will. The court will then issue an estate certificate. This estate certificate gives you authority as estate trustee.

If there is a will, the witnesses to the will must sign a statement under oath. It is called an affidavit of execution and is attached to the original will. It confirms the will was properly signed.

Court Application to Appoint Estate Trustee

I prepare the court application and legal forms to probate the estate. I then file this with the court. At that time, the provincial estate tax is paid. This tax is the Ontario estate administration tax. It was once called provincial probate tax. This is not federal income tax, which is paid to Ottawa.

I also then mail a notice to all beneficiaries named in the will or those who inherit without a will. This informs them you are applying to administer the estate.

You are not required to appear in court. Usually the estate court issues the certificate without anyone appearing in court. Delays in probate court processing can take months.

Estate Inventory

You need to prepare an estate inventory as of the date of death. This inventory is used to calculate provincial estate tax.

You identify assets that are controlled by the will or not. Will assets are valued and subject to provincial probate tax. I can then calculate the tax that is payable for you. Assets designated to named beneficiaries are not subject to probate tax.

Calculating Estate Administration Tax

To calculate this tax, no debts except for mortgages can be deducted. Assets designated to persons (other than to the “estate of”) are not subject to provincial estate tax. You can request written confirmation of designations from the institutions holding assets.

I can confirm how estate administration tax (probate tax) is calculated.

Paying Estate Expenses

You are not required as executor or estate representative to pay any estate expenses using your own money. I can explain how this can be done.

Certified Cheque to Minister of Finance

Normally, a cheque for estate administration (probate tax) tax can be obtained from the deceased’s own funds.

I will ask you to provide a bank draft to pay the provincial tax. This tax is paid when I file the estate court papers.

Read more in Part 2 of What to Expect When You Probate Ontario Estates.

Handling real estate in an estate can require expert legal advice. Call me, a certified specialist, for a free telephone consultation to see how I can help you.