Probate, Dying in Ontario

Probate In Ontario Canada

Probate In Ontario

Probate, executor, and probate taxes are unfamiliar to many of us who have never experienced death in the family. But sooner or later it will come and we would have to get familiar with the terms.
Here, you can find everything the legal terms you need to know when a family member dies in Ontario.


  1. What Is Probate?
  2. Probate Taxes In Ontario
  3. What is this Estate Information Return?
  4. Legal Cost for Obtaining a Certificate of Appointment
  5. What is my “Estate”?
  6. Letters of Probate
  7. I do not know if there is a will, what do I do?
  8. Action Plan

What is Probate?

When someone dies owning an asset (bank account, property, vehicle, etc.) by themselves,  in order to transfer the ownership or title of that asset, you must probate. Probate is the court process for when a person applies to be the Executor and obtains a Certificate of Appointment. This certificate is what grants the legal authority for the Executor to perform all the duties needed. This used to be called “Letters of Probate.” The Executor or “Estate Trustee” is the named person who follows the will and distributes the estate. If there is no Last Will and Testament, then the Executor will follow the rules under the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act.

what Assets Do Not Require Probate?

  • Jointly owned assets with a right of survivorship (JTWROS)
  • RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs with a named beneficiary other than ‘Estate’
  • Insurance proceeds paid to a named beneficiary other than ‘Estate’
  • Real estate owned outside of Ontario
  • Gifts made during your life
  • Assets in a trust created during your lifetime (inter vivos trusts).

executor of will

What is a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee?

A Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is a document issued by the court that appoints someone as the executor and gives them the authority to manage and distribute the estate of a person who either died with a Last Will and Testament or who died intestate (without a will). The Certificate of Appointment proves the authority of the Executor to administer the provisions of the deceased’s will or if there is no will, as directed by the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act lists who may apply to become the Executor of the estate as well as who the heirs of law would be.

Little Black Book Of Probate

Little Black Book of Probate is a collection of frequently asked questions along with their answers that helps understanding probate better. The book was written by Hummingbird’s Wills & Estate lawyer, Amy MacAlpine.
Click to download

How long does probate take in Ontario?

Right now the courts are experiencing a backlog in processing the Applications for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (Executor). We are currently seeing process times up to 12-14 weeks at some local courts. Overall, it typically takes one year to probate an estate. If there is litigation, trusts or other complicated issues, it could take years.

Foreign Executor

Probate Tax and Fees In Ontario

Do I have to pay a tax to probate? I thought there was no “death tax”?

While there is no “death tax” in Ontario, you do have to pay an “Estate Administration Tax” (use to be called a Probate Fee) to the Ministry of Finance.  This tax is calculated based on the total value of all assets owned by the deceased at the time of death that will go through the probate process. It is about 1.5% of the value of the estate. You can find a calculator here:

Estate Administration Tax Calculator

Click for more details

This fee is payable to the Ministry of Finance at the time you submit your Application of a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.

Do I have to file taxes for the deceased?

Yes! The Executor must file two returns on behalf of the deceased. A return reflecting the time period during the year the person was alive, and then a second final return for the remaining of the year.  Executors should seek the advice of an accountant who is familiar with processing terminal returns. Executors should also request a Clearance Certificate from the CRA to confirm that all assessments are final. Until the receipt of this CRA clearance, it is suggested that the final distribution of the estate not be made to protect the estate in case there is an amount due.

What do I do with the car? Who do I contact?

  • Cancel the deceased’s driver’s license with Service Ontario
  • Cancel the car insurance: Here is a link to help you find contact information for car insurance companies.

Car Insurance Company Contact List

Click for more details

  • Cancel CAA: Here is a link to help you contact CAA after someone dies.

CAA Services

Click for more details

  • When someone dies owning a car, it can be transferred by visiting Service Ontario. You will need either the Certificate of Appointment and a copy of the will, or a letter from your lawyer stating the probate was not required. We are familiar with this process and can help provide you with this letter. Contact us at Amy MacAlpine, Partner Lawyer of Wills & Estates.
  • Here is a useful link from Service Ontario for more information:

How to buy or sell a used car in Ontario

Click for more details

What is this Estate Information Return?

Executors beware! If you go through the probate process and have been issued a Certificate of appointment any time after January 1, 2015, you are subject to new reporting rules. The Estate Trustee or Executor must file an Estate Information Return to the Ontario Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days of the issued Certificate of Appointment. This is a detailed inventory reflecting everything a person owned at death and the value of those assets. There are heavy penalties and a lifetime undertaking to report any changes in the estate value. In 2016, we are starting to see the first of audits and are waiting to see how penalties are actually served. The Registrar has reported that the amount of administration tax collected has already tripled since the rule has been implemented. You can bet that this requirement is not going anywhere!

Probate Lawyer

Legal Cost for Obtaining a Certificate of Appointment

The costs to hire a probate lawyer for some services, such as for obtaining the Certificate of Appointment, can be charged to the estate. The Executor does not have to personally pay for this service. Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will applications starts at $3500, plus disbursements and HST. Costs for legal additional counsel, support and/or administration services are determined on a case by case basis.

**All pricing is reviewed and quoted with the client prior to being retained

What is my “Estate”?

Your “estate” consists of all the things that you own by yourself at death. Your car, bank accounts, clothes, jewelry, business interest, etc. If you own it, it is part of your estate. Joint accounts and beneficiary designation accounts such as TFSA or life insurance are NOT part of your estate for probate purposes.

How does my estate (assets) get transferred after I die?

Your assets that you own by yourself, can be transferred in two ways:  either in accordance with a Last Will and Testament that you leave prior to your death, which states exactly who you want to have what, or if you die “intestate” (without a Last Will and Testament) the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act dictates beneficiaries your property will be transferred to.

Read more about dying without a Will.

Letter of Probate

In order to give or transfer your estate assets to a beneficiary, the Executor or Estate Trustee (the person in charge) has to be named, appointed and provided the official authority to do so. This appointment is called a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With or Without a Will. This formerly was referred to as Letter of Probate.

See below for information on how to transfer a car, or transfer title to real estate property.

I do not know if there is a will, what do I do?

  • If you are not sure whether the person who died had a Last Will and Testament or not, you can contact the estates department of the local Superior court in the community where the deceased lived to see if a will was registered. For court locations and contact information, you can use the following link:

Court Locations

Click to view a list of Ontario court locations

  • You can also list an advertisement on a new online website Notice Connect. Among other services, they can publish a notice to lawyers, requesting that any lawyer known to have a prepared and/or stored a will for the deceased, contacts you.
  • Ask, Ask, Ask!! Ask people like the deceased’s accountant, life insurance broker, financial broker, lawyer, and closest friend, as to whether they know of any Will the person may have left.

Do I need the original Will?

Yes! The Application for Certificate of Appointment with a Will requires the submission of the original will along with an Affidavit of Execution. The Affidavit of Execution is a sworn statement from one of the witnesses, stating the formal requirements were followed. If the original will can not be found or the Affidavit of Execution is missing, there are some things you can do to either attest to the signature or contact the witnesses. Your probate lawyer should be able to help you with these alternatives.

Who is in charge of my estate?

The Executor or the Estate Trustee is the person who is in charge of transferring (giving) your estate assets to the intended beneficiary.  The Executor has many duties including but not limited to arranging the funeral, collecting all your assets, paying off your debts, preparing and paying your taxes, and distributing what is left.

Hummingbird Lawyers LLP services the Greater Toronto area, York Region including Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket, Thornhill, Markham, North York, and surrounding areas. Hummingbird Lawyers LLP is a full-service firm offering legal support with real estate lawyers, corporate lawyers, civil litigation, family law, estates, and wills.

If you are looking for a probate lawyer require more information please do not hesitate to contact Amy MacAlpine, Partner Lawyer of Wills & Estates.

If you require more information please do not hesitate to contact Amy MacAlpine, a wills & estates lawyer.

Action Plan

3 Steps to Get Going

  1. Review the information on this page.
  2. Contact Hummingbird Lawyers – 905 731 1911 | or Amy MacAlpine at 905 731 1911 ext. 217 |
  3. Know that we got you covered.

Additional Resources

Amy MacAlpine is a partner at Hummingbird Lawyers. She supports clients in the areas of Wills and Estates, Litigation, and Family Law.


  • Reply April 27, 2021


    My dad passed away and cannot find a signed will, going thru probate, but the one asset he has would then trigger capital gains tax. when processing his last return, can you prorate the deemed proceeds to indicate his spouse would take the asset as ACB and the kids would take it at FMV and thus tax is based on the portion that is FMV. His spouse will get 100% of the proceeds when the property is sold.

    • Reply April 30, 2021

      Ioulia Vinogradova

      Please accept our condolences for the loss of your father. We received your comment. Applying for a certificate of appointment triggers Estate Administration Tax which is calculated on the value of the assets of the estate as at the date of death. With respect to terminal return filings and the income/capital gains tax, we recommend that you speak to an accountant. If you are looking to speak to a tax lawyer, please email me directly and we can direct you.

      If you are looking to speak to an estate lawyer, I would be happy to schedule a call to understand better your situation and advise you accordingly.

  • Reply April 3, 2021


    I understand the risks in doing so but my siblings and I agreed to add myself to my mother’s bank accounts. I’m wondering what the risks are in adding one sibling (or all of us|) to my mothers property to avoid probate.
    would the fees in doing so outweigh the benefits of avoiding 1.5% probate fees?

    • Reply April 3, 2021

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Anthony, thanks for your message. To answer your question, it would be best to reach out to our Wills and Estates lawyers directly.

  • Reply March 26, 2021


    This is a continuation to my previous question just submitted about an hour ago.

    In short does an executor of the will need to inform or need permission from the estate lawyer to list the estate home for sate? All he has now is that he is named the executor of the estate.

  • Reply March 26, 2021


    My brother in law father died last month. He was appointed in the will as the executor. All the beneficiaries agreed to list the home. I’m a real estate agent and would like to know do we need a certificate of appointment of estate trustee before we can list the home? Do I need something from his lawyer saying we can go ahead and list the home? Can I write up the listing as the estate of Mr. Smith in trust …..etc.

  • Reply December 19, 2020


    Hello, Amy. My mother passed Dec 1/20 & her Will names me & my sister as co-executrices. When she moved into long-term care 3+ years ago, she divested herself of all property (furniture, glass-wear, art, etc.), gifting it at that time to me, my sister & our 2 brothers. Consequently, her estate now consists of her savings account ($1,000 at time of death) & her investments administered by an investment firm (approx. $40,000 total in her RRIF & cash accounts). With such a modest estate consisting only of monies & with me & my siblings not contesting anything in her Will, I am hoping that we can avoid the cost & time of applying for a Certificate of Estate Trustee/Probate. Her bank says they may consider a waiver of probate, but her investment firm has asked for probate. Can we, instead, offer to provide them with a waiver of liability (a Letter of Indemnity)? Thank you.

    • Reply January 13, 2021

      Ioulia Vinogradova

      Hello Donna,
      Please accept our condolences for your loss. Generally, it is up to each financial entity to decide whether to accept a letter of indemnity/personal guarantee to secure that financial institution from potential creditors of the deceased from the estate trustee.
      Based on the amount you indicated in your mother’s estate, a formal court appointment of you and your sister as the estate trustee just to provide the financial institution with protection against creditors is not reasonable. Although there is no estate administration tax that would be owed by the estate, if your mother’s estate is under $50,000.00, the legal fees for the application to appoint you as estate trustee will need to be incurred.

      I recommend that you seek the financial institution to accept your personal indemnity and if you require our assistance in communicating with the financial institution, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at

  • Reply November 19, 2020


    Is there Probate on the Principle Residence of a deceased individual who has left the asset to their children via a will and who no longer has a spouse to have had a deemed transfer? Also, if that is the only asset is a clearance certificate required?

    The asset was sold shortly after death. My understanding is the asset is deemed disposed at time of death and capital gains tax would only be paid if there was a gain on the value of the asset from time of death to the date the asset was sold. How would this be determined?

    • Reply November 20, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      There are separate issues here. Probate is one process that you may have to go through to have the Executor appointed in order to transfer the property via the Will. There is a chance that probate is not necessary depending on a few land title exceptions.
      Capital Gain does not apply to your primary residence.
      Clearance Certificate is regarding CRA stating all of the deceased’s taxes (income or otherwise) are paid and all assessments are final.
      We are happy to assist you with a consultation to determine if probate is necessary.

  • Reply October 20, 2020



    My mother in law passed away in Nov 2019. After her death we filed The Estate Information Return with the Ontario Ministry of Finance and paid the Ontario Estate Administration Tax that was owed on her estate. In the summer of 2020, we sold her house and it sold for more than was listed on the Real Estate in Ontario section of the Estate Information Return.
    What happens now that we sold her real estate for more than what was recorded at her time of death? Do we owe Estate Administration Tax on the appreciation?
    Do we need to refile another Estate Information Return, showing the increase in value?

    Thank you for your time

    • Reply October 23, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      The Estate Administration Tax is based on date of death values. Therefore our interpretation of the current EIR filing rules, the sale would not require an amended return. We do note that the EIR is evolving and changes are expected in the future. We anticipate that previous estates would be grandfathered from any future change.

  • Reply September 20, 2020


    Hi Amy,
    I’d like clarification of my situation and whether probate is required.

    I am the sole beneficiary of my mother estate as stipulated in her will. I am also her POA for both health and financial and have been managing all of her financial obligations for the last 7 years. My mother’s only asset is cash which I have access to thru her bank account. I pay all her expenses thru this account and have been thru use of her online access. This is not a joint account. The value of her assets is under $30,000. There are No other assets.

    My question is, do I need to request and go thru the probate process in this situation?

    Thank you,

    • Reply September 22, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello, based on what you describe you most likely will be able to request the bank to waive any probate requirement after her death for the remaining funds. However, since this is a bank decision, I can not guarantee success.

  • Reply August 27, 2020


    My daughter in law’s mother has just passed away. She had been very ill with cancer and then a brain tumour for a number of years now and my daughter in law and my son looked after her all that time. They also looked after the house and my DIL’s father. During this time they missed an opportunity to buy another property in order to stay with her. The will was made many years ago and stipulates that the house asset be split between the 3 siblings. This would mean that my DIL will receive no compensation for all the years she cared for her mother plus, she, my son and their two daughters will have to leave their home. Do they have any options? Thank you.

    • Reply August 28, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your question.
      There are two possible avenues we can look into.

      1. Whether they contributed financially to the home maintenance or mortgage.
      2. Whether they were acting as Power of Attorney taking care of the parents.

      If so, it may be possible to recover from the estate in addition to the 1/3 share of the house.
      If they are interested in further discussing with me, they can email me directly

      Thank you, Amy.

  • Reply July 23, 2020


    if a will has not gone through probate yet, can i be evicted from the property that is part of the will?

    • Reply July 24, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      If you are in Ontario, and a Certificate of Appointment is not issued, then technically the Executor does not have the legal authority to evict. Further, under current COVID restrictions, all evictions are suspended.

  • Reply July 23, 2020


    is there a public registry that lists applications to probate?

    • Reply July 24, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      There is not one general registry, however, you can do individual searches at each superior court.
      We have people who assist us in doing these searches. If you are interested you can email me directly at

  • Reply July 23, 2020


    I rent a condo from someone who recently passed away. The property has not gone to probate yet, so can the beneficieries evict me? can i continue renting the property until it clears probate?

  • Reply July 17, 2020


    If in the will it is stated that “my spouse and I are jointly owned our house, which has been our primary resident”. Therefore I request that this property pass directly to my wife”, does that mean that there is no need to pay for probate fee?

    In general, if people are in a long term marriage and one person dies, is it true that in such a case there won’t be any need for probate fee?
    I think this is one of the common questions people have when they search for probate tax.

    • Reply July 17, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      If the house is only in dad’s name, and in Ontario, then most likely probate is required. There is a rare exemption that could apply, but we would have to pull and review the Land Title Registrar Parcel to determine if this is possible.
      If the exemption is not available and only dad’s name is on the title, we will have to go through probate to transfer the property to mom. The will does not prevent this.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions and if we can further assist you.

  • Reply July 15, 2020


    My dad died September, 2019. There are three executors nominated in the 25 year old will, myself, my younger brother, and my dad’s common law wife of 34 years. The will was common knowledge, and discussed opening in my dad’s home. His common law wife was to get the pensions and death benefits. My brother and I were to split the personal property (stuff) and split the real estate – my dad’s home. The will has not yet gone to probate. I’m here in Ontario cleaning up the house, and sorting the stuff. My brother and I have gone through and decided what we would each like, and what is for donations, and trash. We have had the contents appraised. Can I take what I have chosen, and get all the garbage gone? I’d like this to happen prior to any appraisals.

    • Reply August 7, 2020

      Hummingbird Lawyers LLP

      Thanks for your message, Mandy.
      Please reach out to our Wills and Estates lawyers directly with any questions you might have regarding Probate.

  • Reply July 10, 2020

    Cheryl Goering

    Good afternoon,

    My mother-in-law (widowed) passed away from covid-19 in April 2020. My husband had been estranged from his family for many years. His sister was made POA when their father passed 10 years ago. His sister talked her mother into giving her $80,000 to buy a house so she could leave the nursing home and live with her. She never left the nursing home. His sister has not registered at the probate office and won’t answer my husbands calls or messages. The mortgage was (co-tenant). We don’t know who the lawyer was that prepared the will. Is there anything we can do to see if my husband is in fact a beneficiary?
    Thanking you in advance!

    • Reply July 14, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your message.
      Yes, we can file a notice at the courthouse for them to advise you if anyone applies to be the executor.
      In case she put the assets in joint name and there will be no probate, I also suggest having a lawyer draft a demand letter asking her for information and a copy of the will.
      If you are interested in these services please email directly at

  • Reply July 4, 2020


    Is there a way to check to see if Probate Certificate was granted and how long ago when the Executor (a legal firm) isn’t very willing to provide information to the beneficiaries or when or what they are actually receiving, other than it’s being split equally between beneficiaries as stated in the Will.

    April 2019, my Mother received a Notice of Probate (Is a longer name now). She was named as a beneficiary of a gift from her uncle who passed away in late July 2018, and the will stated all assets to be liquified and split evenly to recipients.

    Now I know it can take up to 14weeks depending on where you live in Ontario for Probate, which would have been end of July/Early August 2019.

    At this point, at the end of the month, it will have been 2 years since my Great Uncle Passed away, and my Mother and her sister are wondering what is going on as they haven’t heard anything, other than last September (2019) being verbally told by one of the office ladies that it will all be resolved soon.

    At what point should they be worried that the Trustee of the Estate is taking too long or not handling it properly or withholding any payments, especially when it is well known that certain beneficiaries are actually sick with cancer.

    What would be the appropriate steps be to take? Write a letter detailing concerns, and noting that they’ve technically had the “Executor’s Year” and ask for an accounting?

    Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. Very much appreciated.

    • Reply July 6, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your question.
      Yes, we can have someone go to the court and do a search, however, the Notice should provide you with what you need.
      Did you receive a copy of the entire will?
      Please scan me directly the will and Notice and I am happy to review it with you. Please send to

  • Reply June 29, 2020

    Leona Moote

    Are all persons named in a will in Ontario entitled to see the will?

    • Reply June 29, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your question!
      In Ontario, a beneficiary of a will is entitled to see their portion of the will that provides the gift.
      If you are entitled to share in the “residue” (the net amount at the end) then you are entitled to see the entire Will.

  • Reply June 26, 2020


    Hi, my mother passed and was listed on title as owner of the property her any my father lived at for 45+ years. Does my father need to include this property in the probate assets?

    • Reply June 26, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      It all depends on a few factors. Was it jointly held? There is also a rare exemption that is possible to avoid probate.
      If you would like to consult with us please email me directly at

  • Reply June 24, 2020


    My father passed away a 3 weeks ago, my Aunt is executor/trustee of his will. He had 2 vehicles that he did not mention in the will. we ( his 3 children who are his sole beneficiaries) have agreed that 1of my brothers is in need of 1 of the vehicles and have asked her to put it in his name but she has said she is not able to and that he will need to basically buy it from the estate with his inheritance, however she is now saying she will transfer ownership to herself and May use these vehicle/s until the time the estate is settled? Our father in his will specifically stated that the “trustee is to transfer his home to my brothers And I in equal shares jointly”. She (executor-trustee) has made the initial move to list the home for sale without consulting us. She is also gifting items from within his home to others while telling us his children we are not to remove anything until she has evaluates its contents. I would like to know where we as his children and sole beneficiaries stand as far as rights go.

    • Reply June 26, 2020

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Laurie, sorry to hear about your father’s passing.
      It would be best to consult with one of our Wills and Estates lawyers. If it’s an urgent matter, feel free to reach us by phone at: 905.731.1911.

  • Reply June 10, 2020


    My mother has just passed and all of her assets are either in a bank account or GIC under a TFSA. She was in a Long term care facility, so she had no other assets. What is the process for probate when assets are liquid such as this? Does this speed up the 1 year process? She has a will with my sibling named as executor, and there will be no disputes amongst the named beneficiaries (or anyone else).


    • Reply June 29, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your question. It depends on whether or not there is a designated beneficiary and how much is there.
      Please email me directly at so that we can speak.

  • Reply April 28, 2020


    Hi my father just passed and there is no will or executor he has been separated from step mom 5 years she contacted me and she wants nothing to do with dealing with his estate and wants to revoke all responsibility to me is she able to draw up a letter stating this and get a witness to sign and also would need to be notarized would this be ok. Julie

    • Reply April 29, 2020

      Amy MapAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your email.

      Do you need to apply for probate? Did he die owning assets that now belong to you and any siblings?

      Getting this statement from her is a great start. It is possible that she may need to sign a specific court form if you are applying to probate.

      I am happy to clarify upon knowing your situation and needs. Please email me directly at


  • Reply April 27, 2020


    How long after someone dies do I have to apply to get the will probated? Is there a time frame in Ontario? Thanks

    • Reply April 28, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      While there is no strict rule, an Executor has responsibilities to creditors, taxes, etc and the beneficiaries to take care of the estate.
      You could be found responsible for any loss the estate incurs for delay. We are happy to assist you with this process. Please contact

  • Reply April 12, 2020


    I am no longer in touch with ‘family’ on account of physical and mental abuse throughout my years of being a part of that.
    Its fine, I’m grateful that I am in a better position, but remember the biological woman who bore me, tell me she had a life insurance policy on me. I don’t recall ever knowing about this policy she has on me.
    I think that I (or anyone for that matter) should have a right to make sure someone they are not in connection with not be allowed to make themselves beneficiary’s off of someone’s death. Especially if they are not in connection with or have been cruel and manipulative to enforce these unknown policies on someone.
    How can I get these policies on me terminated or removed or see that the beneficiary does not get anything upon my death.

    • Reply June 29, 2020

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thank you for your message.
      Please contact our Wills and Estates lawyers for further assistance with this matter.

  • Reply March 9, 2020

    Helen Gale

    After letter of probate received person died 2 yrs prior a income interest from Canadian sources comes in can the beneficiary pay this, instead of adding to the estate which is pretty much final now, and monies to beneficiary on the way.

    thank you


  • Reply March 4, 2020

    Marya Morin

    my mother passed in 2013 in Ontario.Before her death, my oldest brother took advantage of her frail mental condition and transferred most of her assets into his accounts. Her legal will states all three surviving children receive a fair share of everything, but named him executor.I was unable to see her will until many months after her death and we all knew she had in excess of 250.000 in several bank accounts. My brother had her sign a piece of notepaper in garbled, three languages leaving everything to him. He took everything.I could not afford the thousands it would cost to fight him in court. is there anything I can do.

    • Reply March 9, 2020

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Sorry to hear about your situation. If you would like to set up a consultation with us, please give me a call at 905-731-1911 to talk to our Wills & Estates lawyer.

  • Reply January 15, 2020

    Stacey C

    My mother passed away Dec 30, 2019, with a will that names me as the executor.
    We are/were joint tenants on our house, so I believe that bypasses probate as right of survivorship (as it is my primary residence). Her financial assets are in the form of TFSA and Annuity with me as named beneficiary. As there are no other assets do we still need to go through probate? (all beneficiaries are aware of what is in the will and no one is contesting the will).

    • Reply January 15, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Thank you for your comment.
      If you are in Ontario and the house is owned jointly (NOT tenants in common) then it would pass through right of survivorship.
      If there are no other assets, other than designated ones, then there should not be a need for probate.


    • Reply August 16, 2020


      We are dealing with passing of dad a year and a half ago. Mom still alive with dementia. So we (sister and myself) left to take care of mom. My issue dad had a will, set a trustee to handle as my father had told us all mom’s financial needs. Mom has received nothing. No cpp no beravement, no funeral costs, absolutely zero. Mom only gets her old age which hardly insurance not paid. While I thought trustee should be taking care of this it seems to not be happening. My sister called cpp to get it started, they want trustee to do it. She called for life insurance, again they asked for trustee. She called trustee but never talks with him. What do we do? My sister against my wishes has paid rent at mom’s nursing home. Now no money. Should we send bill to trustee , we do not want him taking from inheritance when money should be coming more then enough from government if thy had been processed. Can you guide us please ?

      • Reply August 17, 2020

        Amy MacAlpine

        Hello and thank you for your message.
        We can absolutely assist you. Please forward me, the names of all the people involved so that we can perform a conflict check before discussing further.
        Please send directly to my email

  • Reply January 15, 2020

    Suzanne Nicholas

    If you have to go to probate strictly to clear out a few bank accounts whereby all other assets have been dealt with, where do you submit the forms to move forward….can we do it ourselves.

    • Reply January 15, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your comment.
      It depends on how much money and whether the bank will accept a waiver of probate.
      If so, you can potentially do it yourself. If you have any questions and need assistance, we are here for you.

  • Reply January 2, 2020

    John Halonen

    My Father died in 1998 and at that as the Estate trustee, I chose not to probate the will due to the additional expense and the uncertainty of future benefits.
    Am I now required to probate even when the uncertainty continues.

    • Reply January 2, 2020

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hi John and thank you for your comment.
      At this point, what asset are you being told requires probate?

  • Reply December 28, 2019


    My mom passed away this year, her estate went to probate, everything was done accordingly. There is one beneficiary who wants an accounting of her estate for the past 14 years, and won’t sign the release,what is the next step as executor?

    • Reply December 30, 2019

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your comment.
      An Executor should provide an accounting for the estate. You can do this informally to help reduce costs.
      Please let us know if you require additional support and help.

  • Reply December 23, 2019

    Marcais Bowen

    Thank you.

    One question I did have is, when your assets are frozen in your estate, are you able to use your assets to pay the estate administration tax?

    Is a life insurance policy necessary to pay the estate administration tax or will it just expedite the entire process?

    • Reply December 24, 2019

      Amy MacAlpine

      Hello and thank you for your comment.

      When assets are frozen, if it is available cash, the bank will typically assist in issuing a cheque directly to the Minister of Finance from the assets. A life insurance policy made payable to a person could be used, however, they technically have no obligation to use the funds to pay for the EAT. If you make the Estate the beneficiary, the funds would be stuck until a special account is opened which typically can not be done until someone is appointed. (After the EAT is paid).

      We are happy to answer any other questions. Feel free to contact me directly.


  • Reply December 16, 2019

    Frances Meg

    My Aunt died on 1st January 2018 in Ontario. She left a will which I am joint executor. Myself and other beneficiaries have had two payments paid to us but are still waiting on the remaining funds being paid and the estate being finalised. It is now nearly two years since she passed. Should this have taken this long? The law firm dealing with it said it was common to take over two years.

    • Reply December 17, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Frances, thank you so much for your comment. To contact our Wills & Estates lawyers directly.
      Please fill out the form at the bottom of the page and you will be contacted.

  • Reply November 24, 2019

    Jimmy Jones

    Great info! My mom just died and my siblings won’t show me the will that I’m named in. Should I be worried? There is significant assets. Who is executor? I don’t know and the clock is ticking on a looming recession. I can force a probate hearing to appoint the executor? She had a legal will I’m told.

  • Reply November 16, 2019


    How do you know if the executors are being honest when it comes to declaring assets, specifically investments/bank accounts/bearer bonds?

    • Reply November 18, 2019

      Amy MacAlpine

      Thank you for your question. As a beneficiary, you are entitled to an accounting and can ask for statements/receipts. There is also a formal court process that you can request if you are not able to get the disclosure and answers you are looking for.

  • Reply November 7, 2019


    Why do you still need Certificate Of Appointment Of Estate when the Will names the executor?

    • Reply November 12, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thank you for your inquiry. To answer your question briefly, the need for a Certificate depends on the nature of the assets the deceased left behind. Assets such as real estate, for example, unless a narrow exemption applies, may not be transferred from the deceased to a beneficiary in Ontario without a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee. A Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is a document issued by the court that appoints someone as the executor and gives them the authority to manage and distribute the estate of a person who died.

      There are some assets that may be distributed with the Will alone. If you require further assistance, we would be happy to set up a consultation, in person or by phone.

      Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 905 -731-1911 at extension 230.

  • Reply October 31, 2019

    Jennifer Liboiron

    i need to locate and hire a lawyer
    on behald my younger brother
    and myself
    and my children
    our oldest brother forced both of us to sign 9ff exectors
    and had been selling belongings of dead parent
    has had many buyers into dead patents home
    tursday all locks were changed on the home
    and hes had my youngest brother arrested on charges that have lay dormant 25 year dui
    questions are as follows
    we are permitted our executiveness reinstated, however, we require to hire our own legal team?
    our parent died june this year, none of the items listed in will have been offered to receipients, why havent these itens bern gifted, is there somethi g we shpuld be doing or requesting, to receive those items?
    govt has not passed probaye, its a long drawn out affair? how much time should we expect?
    we, Myself I will have ypinger brother attend meetings, so that legal rep is able to listen to hear His struggles.
    as younger brothers lived in home with dead parent for +23 years, due to
    his medical requirements. also as parents partner pass 15 years prior brother was saftey net for parent, companion etc.
    is this legal firm anle to accept new client. what would be the overall expense for my fsmily members to hire ypur team, to assist sorting this all out.
    could it be a set fee?
    ty for taki g the time to understand this complex situation.

    • Reply November 1, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thanks for your message, Jennifer.
      The best thing to do in this case is to contact our probate lawyer directly by either filling out the form on this page or calling us directly at 905.731.1911.
      You can also email us at and we will forward your information to our probate lawyer.

  • Reply October 28, 2019

    Brian Weaver

    My wife’s father recently passed in Ontario and her siblings are not being forthcoming with his will, we live in Alberta. Is there a legal requirement for family to receive a copy of the will? Also, can she demand that there be a probate hearing to ensure the will is legal?

    • Reply October 29, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thank you for your message, Brian. Sorry to hear about the loss of a family member.
      We focus on Probate in Ontario. Please contact our firm to speak to a probate lawyer directly, or fill out the form on this page and our lawyer will get in touch with you. Thank you so much.

  • Reply October 22, 2019

    Kim Rothman

    I live in the UK. I believe that I have been named in a Will in Courtice Ontario. How do I find out if I have been named. I am no longer in contact with the family,so cannot ask them myself.

    • Reply October 23, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thank you so much for the comment Kim.
      Please contact our Wills & Estate lawyers directly by filling out the form or call and one of our lawyers would be glad to assist further.

  • Reply October 18, 2019

    Vivian Black

    I didn’t know that probate is what happens when someone dies owning an asset. My husband and I are looking for tips to help my mother and father get probate to make sure that their assets are evenly divided. We will keep these tips in mind when searching for a professional.

  • Reply September 17, 2019


    I didn’t see if there was a way or not to change the Will after the fact the person has passed away. It has been my understanding that a Will can not be changed after death. Can you please clarify?

    • Reply October 16, 2019

      Hummingbird Lawyers


      A Will cannot be changed after the fact. A Will is a document created to express the Testator/Testatrix’s intentions. After this person passes, if changes were allowed it would not be the testamentary intentions of the person that has passed.

      A Will can be contested by individuals that are listed as beneficiaries or if they are not listed in the Will then there can be challenges if you are a particular individual such as a dependent etc.

      I hope this helps!

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