Probate Court Process in Ontario – A guide for individuals handling a loved one’s estate.
Ensuring that a loved one’s estate is settled and done so in a diligent manner can be a very intricate and time-consuming process. Having appropriate legal representation to assist with the probate process can make navigating the probate court process much easier and avoid legal pitfalls. While not intended to be comprehensive in nature, this guide lays out a basic summary of what is involved and some things to keep in mind if you are involved in settling a loved one’s estate. For your particular estate or probate matter, please speak to a lawyer that deals with estate and probate matters in Kitchener.
What is Probate?Probate (formally known as a Certificate of Appointment (“Certificate”) is the legal process where the court validates the Last Will and Testament of a deceased person. This allows for the estate trustee named in the will to distribute the deceased person’s assets according to their wishes.
What if they did not have a Will?The probate process also assists in appointing an individual as an estate trustee in the event that there is no will. The court will approve the application and grant appointment to the applicant, to be responsible for distribution of the estate. The requirements are more involved and it is important that all aspects be considered and requirements met prior to submitting this application.
The Importance of Legal Representation during the Probate ProcessThere are various reasons as to why you should consult with legal professionals that focus on handling the process involved in the courts. This will allow for a smooth process overall while protecting you so you can ensure that you are not missing any key steps.
- i) A lawyer that has experience in dealing with the courts is invaluable in order to prepare the required documents and having the certificate granted by the court. Having an experienced and knowledgeable legal team will ensure that the estate is being handled in careful manner.
- ii) Submitting for probate doesn’t simply mean submitting it for approval. It also means that it is being completed in compliance with the laws and rules of the Court, Further, it also means that you are assuring to the court that you, as a potential estate trustee that is seeking appointment of this role are completing your obligations related to making appropriate probate tax payments to the court as well as filing the estate information return, paying taxes etc. as and when required.
- iii) A legal team looking after your needs will also ensure that in order to avoid potential legal issues down the line and that you are in compliance with all of your legal requirements including, but not limited to, obtaining a clearance certificate from the CRA on account for taxes. This and many other steps provide you the peace of mind to know that an experienced team is on your side assisting you throughout the process.
- iv) Where there are potential concerns that could leads to conflict, a skilled lawyer can advise and navigate the pitfalls involved in such a situation. Guidance at this stage will keep you from getting into trouble while ensuring that you only take legally approved steps and also take a detailed account of all the steps you take throughout the process, thereby putting to rest any claims that another individual may have against you.