Download our free probate checklist. Download now

What is a Certificate of Appointment of estate trustee?

Applying for probate in Ontario often requires quite a bit of paperwork. Here’s what you need to know about getting a Certificate of Appointment in Ontario.

What is a Certificate of Appointment in Ontario?

One of the first steps to probating a will in Ontario requires the submission of an Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will to the court registry.

This certificate is issued by the courts when probate is granted and serves as evidence that the deceased's wishes have been recognized.

In this article, we cover what a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is, how to obtain one, and when you need one in order to transfer title on assets owned by the deceased.

What is a certificate of appointment?

The Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is issued by the court when probate is granted. It grants legal authority to the estate trustee(s) named in the will and serves as proof that the deceased's wishes have been recognized by the courts. The certificate also enables you to transfer the title(s) on assets owned by the deceased.

Do I need a certificate of appointment?

If you’ve been named executor to the estate or trustee of a trust, then you usually have to formally apply for probate and receive a certificate of appointment if the estate in question is larger than $150,000.

Many banks and financial institutions may also refuse to give you access to the deceased’s assets unless you have a certificate of appointment granting you the authority to act on the estate’s behalf.

The same applies when you’re trying to sell real estate or other assets belonging to the estate: Realtors and buyers may want to see a certificate of appointment before engaging in a transaction.

If the estate is smaller than $150,000, then you can avoid applying for a certificate of appointment and apply for a Small Estate Certificate instead.

How to obtain a certificate of appointment of estate trustee

Applying for a certificate of appointment of an estate trustee is relatively straightforward.

If you were named executor in the deceased’s will, you can go to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice with the following documents:

After submitting the necessary forms to the Superior Court, you will have to wait between 6-8 weeks for the certificate of appointment to be issued. This time frame may be extended depending on how busy the court is and the location.


Toronto courts can be busy and can often take months to issue a certificate of appointment.

During this time, it would be wise to get a summary of the estate's value and what it contains - as the estate tax due with the certificate of appointment will be due on that same date. Our helpful probate tax calculator can show you how much the tax will be.

Need help with probate in Ontario?

Going through probate in Ontario does not need to be confusing.

If you find yourself struggling to keep your Form 74B apart from your Form 74L, help is just one click, phone call, or email away.

Our experienced probate professionals can help you navigate this process effectively and efficiently. Get in touch today for a free consultation and find out how we can assist you.

Untitled design 3 Don't face the burden of probate alone.

Speak to our estate specialists today for FREE personalized probate guidance.

Speak to an estate specialist today