Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will, or Probate as we so often say, is a process that involves confirming the validity of a Will. Of course, it also allows executors to distribute the deceased’s assets pursuant to the terms of the validly proved Will. In order to apply this authority, executors must first obtain a probate certificate known as the “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustees With (or Without) a Will,” which is issued by the Ontario government. Furthermore, executors must pay a fee for this certificate, and the value of this payment is determined based off of the estate’s value. However, on January 1, 2015, the Ontario government issued new probate filing rules; as a result, the process to apply for the probate certificate has now changed.
Prior to January 1, 2015, executors who applied for probate certificates were only required to provide the estimated value of the deceased’s estate in addition to a sworn affidavit that confirmed this amount. No detailed supporting information was necessary to prove that the estate’s value was accurate; as a result, asset values could be severely overestimated or underestimated. Therefore, the Ontario government has made probate filing rules stricter.
Based on the new rules, executors who apply for the “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With (or Without) a Will” must file an “Estate Information Return” within 90 calendar days after the Ontario government initially issues the certificate. The “Estate Information Return” contains a list and corresponding description of each asset, which includes real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles. Feel free to contact Conduct Law for more information about assets that are excluded from the new probate filing rules.
The new policy has not in any way altered the value of probate rates. Probate tax is $5 for each $1,000 for the first $50,000 of the estate’s value, and $15 for each $1,000 of the estate exceeding the initial $50,000.
If executors fail to submit an “Estate Information Return” or submit an inaccurate return, there are severe consequences. The Ministry of Finance can assess or reassess estates at any given moment; therefore, if it is discovered that executors have false or otherwise inaccurate statements on the return, executors are liable to a fine of a minimum of $1,000, up to twice the tax payable by the estate, or imprisonment of a maximum of two years.
Since individuals usually do not have sufficient legal, accounting, or other relevant knowledge to handle these new changes, it is advisable to seek an independent review of your “Estate Information Return” with your legal professional.
Conduct Law is an Ottawa based law firm with locations in Ottawa, Barrhaven, Kanata and Winchester. Our professionals are experienced business lawyers who can help with wills and estates, commercial real estate, liens, incorporations, or any other type of legal entity.
Feel free to call or write to one of our professionals at email@example.com or 613.440.4888 for all of your estate planning, business, commercial, and real estate needs.