Is probate required if there is a will in Ontario?

Asked by: Mitchell Terry  |  Last update: October 12, 2023
Score: 4.6/5 (45 votes)

Seeing as 55% of Canadian's have a will, you may be responsible for a loved one's will at some point. If that point is now and you are the executor of a will in Ontario, then you will need to probate the will. This process can be complex and emotional, so it is important to understand what is involved.

Does every will in Ontario need to be probated?

While avoiding probate in Ontario is rare, there are certain instances where this legal process is not necessary. One instance where probate is not required in Ontario is when the estate is passing from “the first spouse to die to their partner.”

Does having a will avoid probate in Ontario?

A will, on it's own, does not always enable one to avoid all probate fees, but it is an important piece of the puzzle. Wills only speak to assets that form part of the estate. Generally, these assets will require probate, which is a public process.

Who decides if a will needs to be probated in Ontario?

Probate is required when Court approval of the vesting of the assets of the deceased in the estate trustee is required – either to validate the will, or the choice of executor, and with respect to the executor, either because there may be a dispute about who it should be or because some beneficiaries are unable to ...

Do you need probate if there is a will in Canada?

Does every will go through probate? Most written wills have to go through probate in Canada. However, there are some exceptions, such as if the estate is very small or all the assets are held jointly, such as by a married couple.

Probate in Ontario: When & Why it's Needed, and What's Involved

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How do I avoid probate fees in Canada?

Beneficiary designations: Designating beneficiaries on RRSPs, registered retirement income funds, tax-free savings accounts, life insurance policies and pension plans prevents these assets from passing through your estate and thus avoids probate fees on them.

How do I avoid probate on a house in Canada?

USE JOINT OWNERSHIP WITH RIGHTS OF SURVIVORSHIP OR TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY. Adding a joint owner to a bank account, investment account, or to the deed for real estate will also avoid probate, provided that it is clear that the account is owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and not as tenants in common.

What are exceptions to probate in Ontario?

What Assets are Not Subject to Probate in Ontario?
  • Real estate (outside Ontario)
  • Real estate within Ontario that was converted to land titles after purchase by the deceased owner and that has not had any “dealings” since.
  • Assets that were held jointly (there are exceptions)
  • CPP death benefit.

How much is the probate fee in Ontario?

$0 NO probate fee for the first $50,000 of the estate assets. $15 fee for every $1,000 of the total gross value of the estate above $50,000 (This can also be worked out to 1.5% of the estate's gross value over $50,000)

What is the inheritance law in Ontario?

if the deceased leaves no children or spouse, the deceased's parents inherit the estate. if the deceased leaves no children, spouse or parents, the siblings of the deceased divide the estate equally between them (with the children of any sibling who has already died receiving their parent's share)

How do I bypass probate in Ontario?

How To Avoid Probate in Ontario
  1. Simplify the estate. The best way to avoid probate in Ontario is to simplify your estate as much as possible before death. ...
  2. Name Beneficiaries. ...
  3. Set up a trust. ...
  4. Create Joint Ownership of Assets with Rights of Survivorship. ...
  5. Consult Estate Administrators.

What are the new probate rules in Ontario?

The new laws state that beginning in 2022, a separated spouse is not automatically considered to be one of the estate's beneficiaries. Spouses separated for three years or more before a death that occurred after December 31, 2021, or that have a formal separation agreement are treated the same as a divorced couple.

Can you empty a house before probate in Ontario?

Probate would need to be completed before you could remove the items. If you're the personal representative or executor of the estate, you would need to take inventory of the contents of the house as part of recording the estate's assets. The executor may need to sell off the house to pay any outstanding debts.

Can you file for probate without a lawyer in Ontario?

A short answer is you do not need a lawyer to file for a probate application. There is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer to file a probate application in Ontario. However, it is essential to understand that a probate lawyer would be qualified to draft the probate application as per Ontario's civil procedure rules.

Do all beneficiaries get a copy of the will in Ontario?

The executor must also provide beneficiaries with a copy of the will if they request it. So, in short, beneficiaries do not have a blanket right to see or receive a copy of the will, but they can request one from the executor.

Do you have to register a will in Ontario?

In Ontario, you are not required to register or publish your will. 13 You should make sure that the person who is going to be your executor knows where to find your original will (and not simply a photocopy).

Do you pay taxes on inheritance in Ontario?

No inheritance taxes in Ontario

There are no true inheritance taxes in Ontario. In other words, there are no taxes that a person who inherits from an estate must pay.

How long does the average probate take in Ontario?

Generally it takes 6 to 8 weeks for grant of proabte in Ontario. At busy court location such as Toronto probate application process can take upto 5 months.

What is the probate limit in Ontario?

You can apply for a Small Estate Certificate if the estate is valued at up to $150,000. If the estate is valued at more than $150,000, you can apply for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee. Learn more about how to apply for probate of a Small Estate.

Do all estates go to probate in Canada?

If the estate's value is $150,000 or less, it can be distributed according to the will without going through probate. This is known as a small estate. If there are debts owed, the estate may have to go through probate so that the debts can be paid off before the assets are distributed.

Can an executor sell assets before probate in Ontario?

So an executor can list the property, but they must also add a condition to the sale agreement that probate needs to be granted before the sale is finalized. Some buyers may not want to accommodate this condition, and the executor should be prepared for this reality.

What is the executor fee in Ontario?

Generally, an estate executor in Ontario gets paid 5% of the estate's value. The logic behind the 5% benchmark is as follows: 2.5% on all capital receipts and disbursements. The remaining 2.5% represents all revenue receipts and disbursements.

Can you empty a house before probate Canada?

No. You should not empty a house before probate. There is an order to probate for a reason, and emptying a home prematurely can result in both personal and legal headaches.

Can you sell a house before probate in Canada?

The short answer is yes, you can list the home for sale prior to probate being granted, but there are several things you should consider as the Executor of the Estate, when it comes to selling a home after someone has passed away.

Can I do probate myself in Canada?

Probating a will yourself is possible in straightforward situations, as long as you educate yourself and draw on professional assistance when you need it. Handling probate yourself will save you some money as you won't have to pay an estate lawyer to do everything.