Make probating Wills easier with Axess Law's flat fee lawyer services. When you absolutely "need a probate lawyer near me", we have open law offices (Toronto and area) 7 days a week. Now you can access legal services day or evening, at your convenience.
What is Probate?
Losing a loved one is traumatic. Why make it more complicated or difficult than it needs to be?
Probating a deceased's last Will and testament proves it is genuine and valid. Before you distribute Wills and estates to beneficiaries, ask our cheap lawyers (Toronto and nearby) to help you get a certificate of appointment of estate trustee from an Ontario probate court.
Even if you are named executor in a personal Will, your right to distribute a next-of-kin's estate could be challenged in court. Axess Law online probate lawyers show you where to take a Will to get permission to probate it and what to do if your legal authority as estate trustee is questioned.
Apply to Probate Ontario Wills
Probate law requires executors to apply to court if a deceased:
- owned Ontario real estate, their own or as tenants in common
- has vehicles, motorbikes, RVs, trucks, boats or trailers
- owned a business without making a succession plan to pass it on
- has substantial bank accounts not held jointly with others
- or has a bank, creditors or investment company who demand proof of an executor's legal authority.
Applying to court as estate executor verifies a Will -- holographic (handwritten) or otherwise -- is signed and properly witnessed and that you are the deceased's personal representative.
When You Can Bypass Probate
Not all Wills require probate. You can often bypass probate court if a deceased had a secondary Will or named beneficiaries for assets like life insurance policies, stocks and bonds, RRSPs or RRIFs or TFSAs.
Some estates are so small that probate is impractical. Small estate certificates allow executors to distribute assets without all the formalities. Ask our probate lawyers how to manage Wills and estates with no or little assets.
Surviving spouses can be entitled to the matrimonial home or certain assets if they have been left off a Will. Axess Law explains survivorship rights for spouses when you make a probate appointment.
Your Executor Duties
Executors, estate trustees or personal representatives have legal and financial responsibilities to:
Follow a Will's directions
Keep beneficiaries' interests in mind
Protect and grow assets in Wills
Keep proper financial accounts
Treat beneficiaries (heirs) fairly
Not profit personally at beneficiaries' expense
Perform responsibilities ably.
Unless an estate is complex or in court, you have about a year to distribute a Will.
Why You Need a Lawyer
What could possibly go wrong?
- Beneficiaries can take legal action to right executors' wrongs if they believe you are not properly distributing a loved one's estate.
- Spouses or financial dependants may have first claim on a Will, even if they have been disinherited. Ontario's succession laws can override what's in a Will.
- Angry heirs may dispute the deceased's estate, making your job onerous and time consuming.
- You may value an estate wrongly, leaving estate administration taxes unpaid and subject to court action.
- Divorce or marriage makes parts or the entire Will invalid. (Is your Will up to date?)
- Estates can be bankrupt or insufficient to pay debts and give gifts "promised" in a Will.
- Beneficiaries may die before they inherit. (We help you sort it out.)
- And so much more.
Before you give a gift to any beneficiary, be sure you understand Ontario probate law. Axess Law's probate lawyers explain how probate works and your executor duties and obligations.
Complex Estate Planning
Sophisticated business owners or investors often make multiple Wills -- primary, secondary or more. Business shares, valuable antiques or foreign investments may be distributed differently, requiring probate law advice from an experienced legal professional.
Axess Law has lawyers in Toronto who can advise if assets need probate attention or not. We discuss mandatory estate information return filing, due within 180 days of your appointment, and preparing final income tax returns.
Executors may have to take legal action to collect estate assets or pursue debtors who owe the estate money. Axess Law gives referrals to trusted legal partners for advice on filing Small Claims Court actions, writing demand letters or defending a deceased's estate.
Replacing Estate Trustees
Being an executor can be more complicated than it seemed when you agreed to act on a family member's behalf. Axess Law advises Will makers to appoint successor or alternate trustees or to make joint executor appointments for just that reason.Whether you are the only executor or one of many, if it's all too much, we apply to court to allow you to resign or rescind your appointment.
Free Consultation Arranged
Your first probate consultation is free, without obligation. An Axess Law licensed Ontario lawyer gives you a probate quote and answers any probate questions you have.
Book Probate Consultations Online
Make probate appointments online or phone our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line to speak with a probate lawyer, anywhere in Ontario. Our virtual online services let you access legal services day or evening. Plus our inclusive fees make hiring a probate lawyer affordable. Ask us! Axess Law has a law office nearby in Greater Toronto Area and makes appointments that suit your schedule.