EXPERIENCED ESTATE LAWYERS PROVIDING PROBATE ADVICE
Probate is the official “proving” of a will in court. The court examines the will and determines whether it is valid. This process can be a lengthy and complicated. However, Sweatman Law Firm makes it simpler by being there for our clients every step of the way. We provide a personal, hands-on approach to assisting clients who are navigating the complicated probate process.
Clients who bring their estate matters to Sweatman Law Firm are in good hands. The founding partner of the firm, Jasmine Sweatman, has over 20 years of experience in estate law and was designated as a Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law by the Law Society of Ontario in 2004.
Determining whether Probate is Necessary
The first step is to determine whether probate is required. Whether probate is necessary depends upon the type of assets included in the estate. Certain assets, such as land owned in joint tenancy, joint bank accounts, RRSPs and insurance policies with a named beneficiary, can be transferred to the joint owner or beneficiary without the need for probate.
However, if the estate includes real estate where the deceased was the sole owner; RRSPs or insurance policies that name the estate as the beneficiary; or a significant amount of money, probate will be required.
It is important to note that if probate is required for one asset, it will be required for all of the assets included in the estate.
What Probate Involves
In Ontario, if a deceased passes away with a will, should the executor named in the will have to apply for probate, the court will issue a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will. The executor can use this Certificate to prove to banks, insurance companies or other institutions that the will is valid and that he or she has the authority to manage the deceased’s finances and property.
Where there is no will, a prospective executor must apply to have the court appoint him or her as the executor and issue a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will.
In either case, the executor or prospective executor is required to notify estate heirs and beneficiaries that he or she is applying for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.
As part of the probate process, prospective executors must provide an estimate of the value of the estate. Since January 2015, they must also submit an “Estate Information Return”, which sets out details regarding how the value of the estate was determined, to the Ministry of Finance within 90 days of obtaining the Certificate.
Cost of Probate
In Ontario, probate fees are $5 for each $1,000 of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate and $15 for each $1,000 of the value of the estate exceeding $50,000.
No probate fees apply if the estate is worth $1,000 or less.
As probate can be a complicated and costly process, many people seek to minimize or avoid it entirely. Sweatman Law Firm can assist clients to plan their estates in a way that will simplify the probate process or avoid it altogether.
Contact Our Probate Lawyers in Oakville, Milton or Georgetown
To learn more about probate and how we can help you navigate the process, contact Sweatman Law Firm online. Our estate lawyers are proud to serve clients in Oakville, Milton, Georgetown, and throughout Halton Region.