Fraud and Executor Obligations

Don’t let your estate fall prey to fraud or misrepresentation after you pass on. Appoint your executor of Will with care, because if you don’t, both your beneficiaries and your personal representative could suffer.

Executors who are negligent, fraudulent or incapable of managing a final estate can cause significant administrative problems.

What happened to Olympic skater Toller Cranston’s estate.

Looking for fraud

Whose Liability?

In fact, your estate trustee could be held not only personally financially liable, but could be found guilty of a criminal offence. Executors go wrong when they:

  • fail to follow your Will’s directions
  • give the wrong amounts to wrong parties
  • pay improper funeral or creditor charges
  • neglect a beneficiary
  • misuse your money or invest it poorly
  • show preference to a beneficiary or creditor
  • have a conflict of interest
  • hold up bequests
  • fail to protect property, like not renewing your home insurance
  • not sell assets or sell them for too little
  • start or continue litigation not in your estate’s interest
  • not bring legal claims in time
  • have others perform their duties
  • neglect to keep accurate records.

Answers to your questions about what is probate law.

Who to Appoint as Executor of Will

Appointing an executor of Will is no easy task. You’ll want someone who:

  • is trustworthy
  • has financial skills
  • will be careful with your money
  • and communicates

And if you don’t get it right the first time, Axess Law can draft a Will that names a new estate trustee.

Preventing fraud

Prevent Estate Fraud When You’re a Beneficiary

Exasperating as it may be, you may have to take an executor your loved one appointed to Ontario probate court to find out what they are doing to manage the estate. It’s called passing the accounts.

Estate trustees generally have what is known as an executor’s year to disburse an estate’s assets to beneficiaries. Time-consuming legal actions or difficulty locating all the assets can delay that even longer.

When an estate drags on for a year or more, you can file an application in Ontario probate court to have the estate trustee file a financial record of the actions they have taken. That gives you an opportunity to question how assets are being invested or what can be done to move the estate along.

How to probate an estate.

Remedies for Probate Problems

Passing the accounts gives a probate court judge the opportunity to examine how the estate is being managed.

When fraud or misrepresentation has occurred, they can hear applications from your lawyer for remedies, such as returning money or personal property to rightful beneficiaries, or appoint another party to be executor.
A probate judge can:
reduce executors’ compensation
order damages for misconduct, neglect or default
require executors to personally compensate beneficiaries
or pay their own legal costs, instead of charging the estate.

If the estate trustee is delaying distribution of assets, a judge can require them to make regular progress reports to the court.

Voluntary passing of accounts when you’re an executor.

Asking professionals for advice

Why You Need a Lawyer

Naming an executor in your Will and discussing your expectations with trusted family or friends can help dispense with misunderstandings about your estate trustee’s role.

When you appoint a personal representative to act on your behalf, you give them responsibility to:

  • make funeral and burial arrangements
  • find and value assets
  • pay creditors and invest your money
  • communicate with beneficiaries
  • pay estate administration taxes
  • file your final income taxes
  • and more.

They have legal and financial obligations to manage your estate to the best of their ability. Your executor is well advised to buy liability insurance in case mistakes or decisions they make result in a beneficiary or creditor suing.

Could you be an estate executor?

Making or updating your personal Will can prevent other parties from having misplaced expectations about who will administer your estate and what your final wishes are.

Fraud or misrepresentation can happen to any estate. Make sure yours is as fraud-proof as possible by writing down in a legally valid Will what you want your personal representative to do or not do on your behalf.

Axess Law’s licensed lawyers for Wills can:

  • prepare a professional Last Will and Testament
  • include your choices for executor, personal representative or estate trustee
  • and add new family members like spouses or biological or adopted children to prevent confusion about who you want to benefit from your estate.

When there is no Will, we apply for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee without a Will to allow you to probate an estate.

Your First Consultation is Free

With or without a Will, your first probate consultation is free. Our quotes for probate services are all-inclusive. Your final bill includes no hidden fees or surprises.

What is a probate lawyer?

Our probate lawyers help you apply for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee in Ontario courts. We explain estate administration taxes and what’s required for estate information returns. Out of town or out of country executor? We apply to the court to dispense with administration bonds, worth twice an estate’s value, you may be requested to post.

How to become executor of estate in Ontario.

Virtual or In Person Legal Services

Access lawyers via our remote video conferencing services anywhere in Ontario. Virtual lawyers for Wills are available when you are.

Sign legal documents with ease.

We draft Wills or review probate procedures from your home or office using secure, online video conferencing software. Making new Wills is quick and convenient. You can drop into Axess Law locations near you any time to sign.

In person appointments are available at Axess Law offices in Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa 7 days a week. We have day or evening appointments at times convenient for you.

Book Online or Phone Appointments for Wills or Probate

Use our easy online booking form to make an appointment to remote in with an Axess Law lawyer or phone our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line (toll free to 1-877-402-4207). In person appointments can be arranged at any of our Greater Toronto area or Ottawa law offices.

Try our onsite parking or easy transit access.