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.
In this blog post, we will explain how much it costs to probate a will in Ontario, how long you have to do so, and the steps you will need to take. Read on to learn more.
What does it mean to probate a will in Ontario?
Probate is the legal process of proving that a will is valid. In Ontario, Canada, you must probate a will if the deceased person owned property in the province at the time of their death. This includes real estate, personal property, and financial assets such as bank accounts and investments. Probate also allows for the appointment of an executor, who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. The executor manages the deceased person’s estate and ensures that their debts are paid and their assets are distributed according to the terms of the will.
There are two types of probate in Ontario: voluntary and mandatory. Voluntary probate is when all interested parties agree that the will is valid. This can be done without going to court. Mandatory probate is when one or more interested parties does not agree that the will is valid, or when the validity of the will is in question. In this case, the matter must be settled by a judge in court.
How long do you have to probate a will in Ontario?
If you are an executor of a will in Ontario, you must apply for probate within 30 days of the death of the person who made the will (the “testator”). To do so, you must file an application with the Superior Court of Justice in the district where the testator lived at the time of their death. The application must include:
- The original copy of the will.
- A certified copy of the death certificate.
- An inventory of the deceased person’s assets and debts.
- A list of the people who are named in the will (the “beneficiaries”).
- The executor’s contact information.
The court will then issue a document called a “grant of probate” which legally appoints the executor and gives them the authority to carry out the instructions in the will.
If you do not apply for probate within 30 days, you can still apply, but you will have to provide a reason for the delay. The court may also require that you post a bond, which is an insurance policy that protects beneficiaries from any losses caused by your actions as executor.
What is the cost to probate a will in Ontario?
How much a lawyer charges to probate a will in Ontario depends on the size and complexity of the estate. For example, an estate with multiple properties or beneficiaries may be more complex than one with only a few assets. Lawyers typically charge an hourly rate for their services, which can range from $150 to $500 per hour. They may also charge a flat fee or a percentage of the value of the estate.
In addition to lawyer’s fees, there are also court fees that must be paid when you apply for probate. These fees are set by the government and are currently $155 for the application fee and $100 for the certificate of appointment of estate trustee (executor) fee.
You may also have to pay other professional fees, such as appraisers or accountants if they are needed to value the estate or prepare tax returns.
Finally, you will also have to pay any debts of the estate before distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. This includes things like credit card debts, mortgages, and taxes owed.
Final thoughts on probating a will in Ontario
Probating a will in Ontario can be a complex and costly process. It is important to understand all of the requirements before beginning the process. If you are named as an executor in a will, you should speak to a lawyer to ensure that you are aware of your responsibilities and obligations.
If you need help understanding probating a will in Ontario or managing an estate, we can put you in touch with a lawyer who can assist you. Contact us today for a free consultation.