Probate Applications OVERVIEW
The power of an estate trustee (formerly “executor”) comes from the appointment in the deceased person’s Will. However, in order to access the deceased’s assets, it may be necessary to probate a Will.
“Probate” is the term most often used to refer to the process by which, in Ontario, an estate trustee applies to the Court a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will. The certificate provides proof to third parties that the estate trustee is in fact the person appointed by the Will, and the Will is in fact the last Will of the deceased. Financial institutions and others holding the deceased’s assets often need to see this Certificate in order to satisfy themselves that the estate trustee has the authority to request the assets.
Part of this application process includes serving all of the beneficiaries under the Will, and paying probate taxes (which are called Estates Administration Taxes now in Ontario).
Estates Administration Taxes are charged as a percentage of the value of the assets of the deceased that are governed by his or her Will. Assets that are jointly owned with right of survivorship, or that pass directly to a designated beneficiary (example: RRSPs and insurance proceeds that designate persons as opposed to the “estate”) are not included in the calculation for Estates Administration Taxes.
Estates Administration Taxes amount to $5 for each $1,000 of the value of assets of the estate up to $50,000, and $15 for each $1,000 thereafter. The tax is paid when the estate trustee files the application with the Court.