Apr 06, 2022
What's New in Ontario's Probate Laws for 2022?
Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act determines how wills and estates are executed. Here are the new changes for 2022.
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When Robert Currie lost his mother in 2020, he faced an additional, complicated burden he wasn’t quite prepared for: being chosen over his seven siblings as executor of her estate.
The challenge that lay before him was significant. In conversation with the director of the Saskatchewan funeral home coordinating his mother’s service, Robert was asked if he would be interested in participating in a pilot program of sorts for a new estate settlement platform called ClearEstate.
We regularly share relevant information about wills and estates.
Robert’s first contact with ClearEstate was a video presentation, hosted by co-founder Alexandre Gauthier, which outlined all the responsibilities of an executor and what the Canadian startup could do to help.
Robert was one of ten people selected to try ClearEstate’s digital-first platform, designed to help guide users through the probate process as efficiently as possible.
On average, the estate settlement process can take approximately 400 hours, or 12 to 18 months, to complete. In cases of imminent death, many executors are not equipped to deal with this process on their own.
Once he signed up, Robert says he was immediately impressed by the transparency of its user interface and support infrastructure.
“Beneficial, helpful, effective, successful — ClearEstate has been great. I input my data into the dashboard, and the rep I was assigned would tell me, in real-time, what I needed, what I was missing, and what I had to do, all while giving me great guidance along the way. Now, I’m looking forward to successfully addressing the needs of the estate.”
As executor, Robert knew of the will’s existence and location. But what he was not prepared for, despite having known his mother’s lawyer for over two decades, was how the estate was to be divided.
“The surprise was the will itself,” began Robert. “I'm the eldest of eight. So my mum's intentions were that her assets would be split equally amongst the eight siblings. But the will was written in a way where the executor, me, is the sole beneficiary. I would not have known this had ClearEstate not spotted it.”
Robert was able to avert potential conflict, and a hefty tax bill, before the misunderstanding was officialized.
“Using ClearEstate, I listed all beneficiaries, their addresses and contact information only to find out that, no, they were not beneficiaries. That was definitely a surprise!”
ClearEstate takes the guesswork out of estates, saves clients thousands of dollars and offers peace-of-mind throughout the settlement process. The extra support was not lost on Robert.
“What I really appreciated was the guidance, and the availability to answer all of my questions,” he explained. “The legal structure of estates and inherent bureaucracy can make a person feel pretty unimportant, whereas with ClearEstate, my questions would be answered within days, oftentimes faster. It really helped me to understand the full scope of my duties and responsibilities.”
Robert said he will continue to rely on ClearEstate’s support as he completes the distribution of assets during the final stages of his executorship. The terminology can be continuously confusing, especially for the average layperson who is doing this for the first time.
“What is probate? What is a letter of probate? Why do I have to get it notarized? There are always so many questions, so the guidance was extremely helpful. There has never once been an ‘oops’ moment because what they say is accurate, with ClearEstate, it's ‘this is what you need’.”
It is in our most vulnerable moments that we need people who can be trusted. Timely, accurate information is essential; not only to the process itself, but also our wellbeing and mental health.
“ClearEstate has my best interests at heart,” Robert added. “I feel like I've established a trustworthy, effective and timely relationship that is moving me along in the right direction while addressing my responsibilities as an executor.”
Questions about your responsibilities as an executor? Contact us at email@example.com.