Probate Consultation

Our probate lawyers take the worry out of completing court documents and getting court approval to administer an Ontario estate.

What is Probating a Will?

When you agree to be an estate trustee in Ontario, you take on legal authority to manage a deceased’s assets according to their final wishes.

Many Ontarians have no Will and die intestate. Those who write an original Will often leave valuable information out. Without regular updating, personal Wills can become quickly irrelevant where family status, investments, or property holdings are concerned.

Probate applications prove if a document is the deceased’s last Will and testament. An Ontario court judge reviews original Wills and codicils (changes made by the Will writer or estate attorney) to confirm their validity. If all your legal papers are in order, the judge issues a certificate of appointment of estate trustee with a Will. It’s the final step authorizing you to distribute an estate.

When there is no last Will and Testament, a probate application can appoint an executor on behalf of the deceased’s estate.

Once you have court approval, you can obtain bank and investment statements, hold estate sales, sell or rent real estate and give beneficiaries assets the deceased wanted loved ones to have.

How It Works


Book Your Appointment

Click on ‘Get Started’ to submit your details. Our client care team will contact you shortly to schedule your appointment with the lawyer.


Meet With The Lawyer

Your first probate consultation is free, without obligation. An Axess Law lawyer will give you a probate quote and answer any probate questions you have.


Apply For Probate

Our lawyers will work with you to complete the application forms and apply for probate in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Documents We Need

The legal representation you choose can help the process of probate proceed smoothly. At Axess Law, our lawyers are highly experienced and qualified to assist you in applying for probate. Bring the following for your online video conference (anywhere in Ontario) or in-person meeting at our Greater Toronto Area law offices:

Prior to closing, Axess Law will ask you for two pieces of ID. Proving your identity is obligatory to prevent fraud. You may use either two pieces of primary ID (Ontario driver’s license, passport, Ontario photo card, Canadian citizenship card with photo or Canadian permanent resident card with photo) or one primary and one secondary ID (Birth certificate, social insurance card, or major credit card with your name on it).

Carry the original Will and any revisions called codicils. We file a form 74.13 with the Ontario probate court to get a certificate of appointment of estate trustee with a Will.
You will be required to submit proof of death while filing the application. This would include documents such as a death certificate from the funeral home or coroner.
Make an estimated value of the deceased’s estate. You can revise the asset list later if other real properties or personal possessions are located.
As an estate trustee, you will be required to present affidavits of execution from witnesses who signed Wills.
Don’t worry if you have valued all the estate assets yet or don’t have a complete list of beneficiaries. Your initial efforts are fine for our purposes.

Why Probate a Will?

Probating a Will can be a straightforward legal task or complex if next-of-kin challenge your appointment. Unless the estate you are administering is very small (under $50,000), Axess Law’s probate attorneys highly recommend it.

Many Wills have errors or gaps that make their legal validity questionable. Courts can decline to confirm a Will that is problematic and treat the deceased’s estate as if there is no Will. If an estate trustee is too young (under 18), mentally infirm, senile or unable to execute the Will, the court may appoint someone else to carry on.

Talk to us at Axess Law for advice on:

  • legal requirements for handwritten or holographic Wills
  • executing unsigned Wills
  • if unwitnessed Wills are legally valid
  • improperly witnessed Wills
  • Will maker was too young
  • Will maker was mentally incapable 
  • undue coercion or improper influence when making a Will.

Axess Law’s experienced probate attorneys help you through the process and come to your aid when a Will is challenged in court.


When Do I Need Probate?

You Need Probate If:

  • The deceased owned real estate of their own or with others, not jointly with a spouse or common-law partner.
  • They had personal bank accounts besides a joint spousal account.
  • Their bank, credit union, investment advisor or creditors need evidence you are the estate trustee.
  • Foreign or non-registered investments are involved, such as stocks, bonds or options.
  • The estate is named beneficiary for insurance, RRSPs, RRIFs or TFSAs.
  • They have property outside Ontario, such as vehicles, trailers or ATVs.

You Don’t Need Probate for:

Some Will makers include assets not requiring probate in secondary Wills, such as:

  • real estate located outside Ontario
  • bank accounts or Ontario property owned with joint tenants that can be transferred using a survivorship application
  • pensions and Canada Pension Plan death benefits
  • insurance or registered assets like RRSPs, RRIFs or TFSAs with named beneficiaries
  • or RESPs with joint subscribers.

Assets with named beneficiaries or subject to rights of survivorship can pass outside a Will, with no probate required.

When to Get a Probate Consultation?

You need probate if:

The deceased owned real estate of their own

The deceased had personal bank accounts

Foreign or non-registered investments are involved

The deceased had property outside Ontario

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Convenient Appointments

Make an appointment by calling +1.877.402.4207 or fill out our online booking form. Axess Law gives you the choice of booking an online or in-person appointment. Our lawyers are available 7 days a week, at times convenient for you. We can meet in person, by phone, email, or via a remote video call. In addition to these, there are 5 Axess Law offices located across the Greater Toronto Area – all with onsite parking or easily accessible by public transit.

Some FAQs

Probate can be optional for certain estates that are small (under $50,000), organized to avoid probate or if beneficiaries agree not to challenge the Will or estate trustee certificate. Banks, credit unions and investment companies are reluctant to grant access to a deceased’s financial accounts without proof you are the estate trustee. Regardless of how modest or straightforward an Ontario estate may be, you still may need to probate a Will.

Probate court judges will examine the probate application your Axess Law lawyer presents. The court will then collect the estate administration tax, based on the estimated value.

You pay:

  • no tax on the first $50,000 or less
  • and $15 for every $1,000 after $50,000.

Taxes are owed when the probate application is submitted, via bank draft payable to the Minister of Finance.

Axess Law’s Ontario probate consultants are highly experienced and can help you apply for probate in a court near you. They offer legal advice on Ontario estate law, review Wills for probate and draft probate applications with a Will or without a Will. They can even inform you about filing deadlines for final income taxes and estate tax returns and to ensure creditors, mortgages and property taxes are paid on time.

As estate trustee, you hope probate will go quickly and efficiently. Errors or omissions on court forms can delay your application. Having a probate lawyer reduces how long is needed for probate applications to be granted. We guide you through the process to ensure everything is in order and advise you what to do if others object to your application.

Probate can take two to four weeks in smaller municipalities or months in the Greater Toronto Area. Our probate lawyers nearby can meet with you in person or, if it’s more convenient, arrange probate video calls anywhere in Ontario.

Estate information return form 9955e can be submitted online or delivered by hand, mail, courier, or fax once you have an estimate of the assets’ value. The EIR is completely different from the deceased’s final income tax return, which you must also prepare. Axess Law’s Ontario virtual Wills and estates lawyers help you understand all of your estate trustee obligations.
It’s not unusual for estate trustees to still be collecting and valuing assets before the EIR deadline is up, simply estimate their value and complete the estate information return online submission. Courts don’t expect estate trustees to be able to guess what real property, financial assets, or personal possessions are worth. Valuations are best done by asking professional appraisers for an asset’s fair market value. Appraisal costs can be deducted from the estate proceeds, with whatever is left after professional fees (including your own) going to the beneficiaries.
As an estate trustee, you can correct an inaccurate or incomplete return within four years, as long as you submit the information within 30 calendar days of discovering an error. You must complete a revised EIR and submit it the same way you did the original. If you underestimated the estates’ value, you must submit an amended EIR within 60 calendar days of receiving the new valuation. If more than four years have passed, write to the Ministry of Finance with the updated information. Assets that have been appreciated since your first estimate do not affect the estate, since taxes are based on their value on the day the deceased died.
As an estate trustee, not completing an EIR could get you in trouble. The Ontario Ministry of Finance may audit estate taxes after you submit an EIR. If you are reckless or neglectful in how you report assets, fail to file a return, commit fraud or leave out information, the taxes may be reassessed. Estate trustees can be fined from $1,000 to twice the amount of estate tax payable and/or be sentenced to up to two years in prison for misrepresenting an estate’s value.
Yes, hiring a lawyer can remove the stress of the estate returns process. With Axess Law’s Wills and Estate lawyers, you can take the complexity out of meeting strict deadlines for compliance with court undertakings and submitting information to the Ministry of Finance. We help ensure your EIR is accurate, complete, and on time. We also advise you on filing the EIR with the Ontario government and getting on with distributing the estate to beneficiaries. Axess Law helps you figure out estate trustee responsibilities and legal obligations in Ontario.