When someone dies, the property and assets must be collected in and distributed in accordance with the law. This happens in one of two ways:
- Under the terms of a valid will made by the deceased, or
- If there is no valid will, according to the statutory rules of intestacy which govern who gets what
Rogerson Law Group’s extensive experience ranges from administering large estates in several jurisdictions, to advising surviving spouses how to deal with modest bank accounts and property.
What do we do?
We advise Executors (estate trustees) of deceased estates on their duties and how they should go about estate administration Our estate administration and probate lawyers also act as executors when formally appointed, for instance, by the deceased’s will.
We also conduct the estate administration on behalf of executors after the deceased’s death right through to the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries. Many of our clients are relieved to be able to hand over to us the responsibility of winding-up a loved one’s estate themselves because the task is a constant reminder of their grief.
What is Probate?
‘Probate’ is the generic term for the dealing of a deceased estate.
Where there is a will
In Ontario, estate trustees are the executors named in the testator’s will who are appointed to deal with the winding up of the estate. The estate trustee applies to court confirming the will and applies for a Certificate of Appointment as Estate Trustee with a Will (formerly known as ‘Letters Probate’).
When the court is satisfied the will is valid, it will issue a signed certificate. The Certificate confirms the authority of the estate trustee to administer the terms of the deceased’s will. The estate trustee may then commence with the administration of the deceased estate. The estate trustee is accountable to the court, for instance, he or she must comply with a court audit and supervision.
Where there is NO will
The law states who can apply for ‘a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will’. Only residents of Ontario may apply. The Certificate gives authority to the estate trustee to manage and distribute the estate of a deceased person who died without a valid will in place.
Is a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee always necessary?
No: it is not required where the estate is ‘small’. We will advise you whether or not the administration of the estate of your loved one requires a Certificate.
How long will it take?
The time required to wind-up an estate depends on a number of factors including the number and value of assets and where those assets are located.
Whether you need simple advice on the way forward or a specialist estate administration and probate lawyer to take over the responsibility of winding-up of the estate on your behalf – contact us today. We offer a one hour special consultation during which we will explain the whole process to you.
Our Estate Administration team is highly experienced in dealing with estates which include assets located outside of Ontario, including assets held abroad. We are also experienced in acting in the administration of estates where the estate trustees and beneficiaries are in other jurisdictions.
Read here for more information about our Cross-Border practice.
What do we do if there is a claim against the Estate?
We will deal with this for you: we have a dedicated team of Estate Litigation lawyers who defend legal claims made against the estate of deceased individuals. Where a potentially meritorious claim is made, we will advise on the appropriate way forward. For instance, where a claim for provision is made by a family member who was a dependent of the deceased but who is not provided for by a will, we are likely to advise that a settlement is negotiated.
If a claim is without merit, we will vigorously defend such claims on your behalf.
Contact us as soon as you can if you need help with estate administration or probate. Our experienced team of probate and estate administration lawyers can help you with your unique needs in the entire GTA including Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga, Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke, and Barrie with offices located in downtown Toronto, Barrie, and associated offices in North York and Ottawa.