- Estate Administration -

When a person dies, he or she will usually leave behind an estate.  This estate must be administered. Assets must be gathered, funeral expenses and debts must be paid, and the balance of the estate (known as the residue) paid out to the appropriate recipients.  This process can be difficult and time consuming for the Executor of your Will. A lawyer can help reduce the burden during this difficult time.

In some cases, estates are small and most of the assets are quite simple to handle.  Situations where a Will exists and most assets are jointly held with a spouse, can often be handled without court involvement.  Estates with a value exceeding $ 25,000. however, will generally require that the Executor apply to the courts for a "Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will" (formerly known as letters Probate). In these cases, a lawyer should be consulted to determine the legal value of the estate and whether the probate process will be necessary.

What if someone dies without a Will?

Where a person has died intestate (without a Will), an Estate Trustee is appointed by the court. Persons who are qualified are set out in the Succession Law Reform Act, as well as the order of beneficiaries.  Extensive legal documentation must be prepared and served on interested parties.

Appointment of an Estate Trustee is also necessary where a person has died with a Will but when the Executor has already died.

Estate Trustees are entitled to compensation for their services.  The compensation calculation is complex, and you should seek legal or accounting assistance.

Legal Fees:

Estate Administration fees are charged on an hourly basis since there is no way to determine how quickly the estate will be resolved.  These legal fees are subject to HST.  There may also be certain disbursements (additional costs) that are required to cover document registration fees charged by the Court, and Process server's fees for intestate matters.

Please feel free to contact my office for more details and to answer any questions you may have.

Send E-mail to David Fysh at david@davidfysh.com

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