ADMINISTRATION OF ESTATES

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Canada Pension Plan Automobiles Bank Accounts
Payment of Funeral Old Age & Canada Pension cheques Safety Deposit Boxes
Life Insurance Joint Real Estate Appointment of Estate Trustee (Letters Probate)
If there is no Will Handwritten (Holograph) Wills Advertisement for Creditors
Income Tax Estate Returns

Note to Readers: The information provided in this article is a brief summary only for information purposes and is applicable only in the Province of Ontario. It is not intended to be legal advice. Full and complete advice can only be given by a lawyer who has detailed information about your individual circumstances.

1.CANADA PENSION PLAN

Canada Pension Plan provides:

These are based on the deceased having made the maximum contributions; otherwise, the benefits may be less.

Application forms can be obtained from any funeral home or from the Canada Employment Centre where guidance and advice can also be requested.

You will need the funeral director's death certificate, marriage certificate, and birth certificate for yourself and each dependent child, as well as the social insurance number cards for the deceased, the dependent children and yourself.

If you need any assistance in this regard, our office will be pleased to help you (Tel. 905-634-5605).

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2. AUTOMOBILES

Cars, trucks, snowmobiles or trailers registered in the name of the deceased, can be transferred at the Driver & Vehicle License Office. Sign the ownership certificate as estate trustee (formerly called executor or administrator). Take a new insurance certificate in your own name. This can be obtained from your insurance agent.

If the vehicle is being sold or transferred to other than a surviving spouse, a certificate of mechanical fitness is also required.

No Retail Sales Tax is payable if the vehicle is given to a beneficiary under the will. The Licence Office will need to view the part of the will giving the vehicle (or giving the whole of the estate). Otherwise Sales Tax is payable on the book value of the vehicle even if it is not being sold.

IMPORTANT: If you are selling the vehicle, be sure to obtain cash or a certified cheque and attend at the Licence Office with the ownership certificate and the purchaser so that you can be sure the ownership is changed and sales tax is paid. THE ESTATE MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES THE MOTOR VEHICLE CAUSES WHILE IT IS STILL REGISTERED IN THE DECEASED'S NAME.

Our office will be pleased to help you.

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3. JOINT BANK ACCOUNTS

The surviving joint bank account holder should attend at the bank and have the bank accounts changed over into his or her name alone. The bank will have a new signature card and other forms to be signed but no other documents are required.

4. OTHER BANK ACCOUNTS

Bank accounts in the name of the deceased alone will normally not be released by the bank until the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (formerly called Letters Probate or Letters of Administration) has been obtained. All banks will permit payment of funeral expenses and the probate fee, and some banks will permit other expenses to be paid before the Certificate has been obtained.

If there are no other assets of the estate for which a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is required and the bank account does not exceed the bank's set value, the bank will waive this requirement. We would be pleased to make the application for you and prepare the documents.

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5. PAYMENT OF FUNERAL

The funeral account may be paid from the deceased's bank account. Take a copy of the funeral account to the bank.

6.OLD AGE PENSION AND CANADA PENSION PLAN CHEQUES

The estate is entitled to the Old Age Pension, Canada Pension Plan, and G A I N S cheques for the month in which the deceased died. If the cheques arrive after the date of death, deposit them into the deceased's bank account or the estate account if one has been opened. Burlington Tax Services will be pleased to assist you (Tel. 905-634-5605).

Old Age Pension and Canada Pension cheques or direct deposits for months after the month of death must be returned. The address for this is:

(a) for Old Age Pension and Canada Pension Plan:

(b) for G A I N S

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7.SAFETY DEPOSIT BOXES

If the Safety Deposit Box was jointly held the survivor can have the box transferred into his or her name and remove any of the contents. Stocks, Wills, deeds, etc., should be removed and delivered to your lawyer to be dealt with by him.

If the safety deposit box was in the name of the deceased alone, the bank is entitled not to permit anyone to enter the box, other than the executor to remove the original Will, until the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (formerly called Letters Probate or Letters of Administration) has been obtained. Most banks will allow the executor to enter the box by producing a copy of the Will, if any, and to copy the contents. Burlington Tax Services will require a copy of the contents, and will be pleased to help you.

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8. LIFE INSURANCE

Proceeds of life insurance payable to a beneficiary can be paid to the beneficiary without waiting for the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (formerly called Letters Probate or Letters of Administration). The insurance company will usually require the policy, an application form completed by the beneficiary and a statement completed by the doctor who attended at the time of death or a funeral death certificate.

The local agent of the insurance company is most helpful in this regard and you should contact him as soon as possible. If there is no agent, our office will be pleased to assist.

If life insurance is payable to the estate or to a beneficiary who has died the money will only be paid to the estate after the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (formerly called Letters Probate or Letters of Administration) has been produced to the insurance company. Our office will be pleased to assist you with this.

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9. JOINT REAL ESTATE

If the house or other real estate was held in joint ownership, you should call a lawyer and he/she will proceed to prepare a Survivorship Application to be submitted to the Land Registry Office in order to have the title placed in the name of the survivor. In order to do so, he/she will require particulars of the title, so that he/she can do the necessary searches of title and prepare the necessary documents, and a copy of the funeral director's or Provincial death certificate.

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10. CERTIFICATE OF APPOINTMENT OF ESTATE TRUSTEE (formerly called Probating the Will)

An application is made to the Ontario Court - General Division proving to the satisfaction of that Court that the Will was in fact the deceased's last Will and that it was validly made. At the same time, the estate trustee (formerly called the "executor") undertakes that he will faithfully administer the property of the deceased and if his administration is ever called into question, he will account to the Judge of that Court. After the Court officials have satisfied themselves that the documents and the Will are in order and ensure that no application is being made elsewhere for the same deceased, they issue a Court document called "Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will".

The Court charges a fee, commonly known as "probate fees", calculated on the basis of $5.00 for each $1,000.00 of the first $50,000.00 of the value of the assets shown on the application and $15.00 for each $1,000.00 of the value of the assets in excess of $50,000.00. For example, if the value of the estate was $100,000 the probate fee would be $750. The Court requires this to be paid in advance by certified cheque payable to the Minister of Finance.

It normally takes several weeks to obtain the information to prepare the application and the Court takes from two to five weeks to issue the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.

We prepare the probate documents and prepare the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee. Our fees to probate a will $ 600.00 are much lower than what a lawyer would charge (Call 905-634-5605).

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11. IF THERE IS NO WILL

An application is made by one of the next of kin to the Court to be appointed as Estate Trustee Without a Will for the estate. This person must be nominated in writing on the proper forms by at least a majority of the next of kin who are over eighteen years of age. A "probate fee" calculated on the same basis as set out above is charged by the Court. It may take several weeks to obtain the information, and it is often difficult to obtain the signed nomination forms from the next of kin. The Court takes two to five weeks to issue a Court Order appointing the applicant as Estate Trustee Without a Will.

If the applicant for Certificate of Appointment as Estate Trustee without a Will is not the surviving spouse of the deceased, the applicant must be bonded by an insurance company or by two (2) individuals.

The preparing of the documents and obtaining the bond and the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will are looked after by our office.

Without a Will, the estate is distributed in accordance with the Succession Law Reform Act which distributes the assets in accordance with a government formula.

Assets of which a surviving person was a joint holder with the right of survivorship or which have a named beneficiary, such as life insurance policies, go to that person automatically.

12. NOTICE OF APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT OF ESTATE TRUSTEE

Before the Application can be made to the Court for the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee a Notice of Application for Appointment of the Estate Trustee must be mailed to each beneficiary under the will, together with a copy of the will. If there are beneficiaries under 18 years of age a copy is sent to the Children's Lawyer (formerly called the Official Guardian). Preparation of this Notice and the mailing are looked after by our office.

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13. HANDWRITTEN WILLS

The Succession Law Reform Act of Ontario recognizes holograph Wills which are entirely in the handwriting of the deceased and signed by him. If you are aware of the existence of any handwritten Will or Memorandum of the deceased, you should deliver it to us to be checked for you.

14. ADVERTISEMENT FOR CREDITORS

A notice to creditors which advises that all claims must be submitted prior to a fixed date often appears in local newspapers. This notice is recommended in any case where the executor or administrator is not aware of the deceased's affairs and wishes to find out what debts may be owing so that the executor or administrator will not be personally responsible for any debts.

If the executor or administrator is also the sole beneficiary then he or she is still responsible for the debts of the deceased and it may not be advisable to publish the notice.

Burlington Tax Services will advise you as to whether the notice is required. Our office customarily prepares it and submits it to the newspaper on your behalf.

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15. INCOME TAX

A final income tax return must be prepared for the portion of the year in which the deceased was alive. This can be prepared and submitted to Revenue Canada at any time after the deceased's death and up to April 30th in the following year. Included in the final return is the normal income that would have been declared by the deceased in that year together with any accrued interest or income on bonds or investments.

Unless the property is passing to the deceased's spouse it is all deemed to have been sold at the date of death and capital gains tax is payable. If the property passes to the surviving spouse then no capital gains tax is payable until the spouse sells the property or dies. The deceased's principal residence is not included in property on which capital gains tax is charged.

Tax returns for years prior to the year of death must be prepared and filed, where required, within six months of the deceased's death.

If, after the date of death, any significant amount of income is earned by the estate, an estate and trust return must be prepared and filed with Revenue Canada, Taxation. T-3 slips are given to the beneficiaries to be included with their income tax returns showing the income to which they were entitled and upon which they are taxable.

Our office will be pleased to help with these tax matters. Please call us at 905-634-5605. In most cases there is no need to call a lawyer.

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16. THE SURVIVING SPOUSE'S WILL

It is imperative that you also have a Will, making provision for the dispositions of the assets on your death. If you already have a Will, you should have it reviewed by us and updated if necessary. A new executor may have to be appointed. Provisions should be made for dividing your estate as you wish amongst your children or other beneficiaries. You should also consider what should be done if any of your children predecease you.

17. SUCCESSION DUTY AND ESTATE TAXES

There are no longer any Succession Duties, Estate Taxes or other death duties payable in Ontario. The only taxes on death are Income Tax and the Probate fees.

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