Jun 10, 2022
How long does an executor have to settle an estate in Ontario?
Settling an estate is a challenging responsibility that can often take between six months to a year in Ontario. Here’s what you need to know.
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Creating a valid will is a vital part of estate planning. Taking this step helps you protect and provide for your loved ones in the event of your death. However, even with a will, there are situations when an estate will have to go through probate. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, banks won’t allow you to transfer or access anything without the official stamp of approval from probate court. That’s when an estate executor will have to go through probate to validate the will and receive official approval to carry out their duties.
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The rules for probate application may be different from one province or territory to the next. So, you need to check with the probate court or Surrogate Court in your jurisdiction to determine what's required of you. However, an executor will generally need to go through probate in order to validate the will and get the authorization they require to do their job if the deceased had debt and/or had bank accounts, registered investments, or life insurance policies without a named beneficiary or at financial institutions that won’t hand over funds without going through probate.
Probate is not free. You’ll have to pay probate fees or estate administration tax to the provincial or territorial government.
Probate fees are dependent on the size of the estate and on the province or territory where the probate process is being conducted. Some provinces, like Alberta, charge as little as $35 for estates under $10,000, while some charge significantly higher. In Ontario, for instance, an estate worth $250,000 might rack up fees well over $3,000. Ontario's estate administration taxes are calculated by estate values over $50,000. For those estates, the taxes are assessed at $15 per $1,000 above that $50,000 limit. Québec, on the other hand, charges no probate fees.
In British Colombia, estates valued under $25,000 are exempt, and the fee is 0.6% for states with values between $25,000 and $50,000. For larger estates, the rate is 1.4%.
You may also need to pay court fees, documents fees, and other costs from the estate to fulfill probate requirements. The varying rules, procedures, costs, and processes can be overwhelming for many estate executors. Fortunately, ClearEstate is here to help you every step of the way.