5048 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M9A 1B9

Tel. (416) 427-6418


executor services & probate applications

Services Provided:

Probate (Certificate of Appointment  of Estate Trustee Applications);

Estate Trustee/Executor Services;

What is Probate and why do you need it?

Everyone seems familiar with the term "Probate" but there is a lot of confusion about what it is and why it is needed.  To start, the government changed the name of the "Probate" application to "Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will or Without a Will". Therefore, if a financial institution, real estate agent etc. has told you that you will need Probate/Certificate of Appointment to sell the deceased's house or get access to the  estate funds, they are referring to the same thing. Let's use that term "Probate" for the purpose of explanation in this section.  In order to get "Probate", you must apply to the Superior Court of Justice and pay Estate Administration Tax. To calculate the Estate Administration Tax payable on an estate, please use this link: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/estates/calculate.php

Once the application is submitted, the Court essentially reviews the material in the application to be sure that the will is valid, that all affidavits have been submitted and that you are the proper person to be authorized to act as Estate Trustee/Executor.  Upon receipt of "Probate", you will have the authority to access the deceased's funds, sell the real estate and distribute the funds in accordance with the will (or by the rules set out in the Succession Law Reform Act if there is no will).

Why do you need "Probate"? The answer to that question depends on the types of assets the deceased owned. Most financial institutions will require "Probate" in order to release or transfer the deceased's funds to the Estate Trustee/Executor. So if the deceased owned a bank account in their name only (no named beneficiaries) with a balance over $20,000 or real estate in their name only, you will likely need "Probate".  There are some exceptions as the financial institutions' requirements vary, but this is the general rule.  Basically, the financial institution/Land Registry Office want to be sure that they are releasing the estate's assets to the correct person which is why they require the Executor to be Court appointed.  

Estate Trustee/Executor Services

Firstly, the term Estate Trustee and Executor are interchangeable.  The definitions are slightly different but if you are referred to as the Estate Trustee in the Last Will and Testament of the deceased, it means you are in the working position. You are tasked with administering the estate and ensuring the deceased's wishes are fulfilled.  Often times acting as Executor is too overwhelming for family members when they have just lost a loved one.

I also offer professional Executor services.  There are several situations that could prompt the need for a professional Executor, such as: all family members are non-residents, family relationships are fractured, no appropriate family members to appoint etc. Therefore, if you are preparing a Will and do not have an appropriate person to appoint as your Executor, a professional Executor may be a good selection. Alternatively, if you have been appointed as an Executor and do not feel that you want to take on the role, you have the ability to renounce your right to act as Executor. Again, a professional Executor can fulfill your duties on your behalf.

Appointing an Executor to handle your affairs is a very personal decision.  In order to see if I am the right fit for your estate, please call me at 416-427-6418 or email me rachel@mcdonaldestates.ca