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Estate Administration

The administration of estates involves a wide variety of legal and financial issues and considerations. Numerous steps need to be completed and the executor must advance the administration in a timely manner, keeping the beneficiaries informed about his or her progress.

Lawrences’ estate lawyers have extensive experience with administration of estates, fiduciary accounting, and distribution of estate assets.

May 13, 2015 | Presentation

Record Keeping and Accounting by Estate Trustees, Attorneys and Guardians of Property

Estate Trustees are fiduciaries and must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries of the estate. Estate Trustees have a common law duty to maintain accounts of what they have done with the trust property. 

The Trustee is obliged to provide a complete set of accounts, a true and perfect accounting at all times. 

While the formal rule is that Estate Trustees have a duty to constantly be ready to account, in practice, it is not always practical to produce accounts on the spot. Timing of the delivery will depend on the circumstances and should be governed by common sense. Although Estate Trustees are usually given one year to administer an estate of average complexity, an Estate Trustee would be wise to be ready to account before the “executor year” expires. 

Strictly speaking, an Estate Trustee does not have to account without being asked to do so or being ordered to do so by the court. In the vast majority of cases, the Estate Trustee will voluntarily account to the beneficiaries as part of the process to complete the administration of the estate. An estate is said not to be complete until the beneficiaries or the courts have approved the administration of the estate. Beneficiaries will not approve the administration without first reviewing the accounting. An Estate Trustee should not distribute the estate without getting some assurance that the beneficiaries are satisfied with the administration and will not be making claims against the Estate Trustee in the future.


May 29, 2014 | Article

To Probate or Not to Probate? – That is the Question

You have probably heard of the term “probate”. Perhaps a prospective client has called and told you that a relative has died and he or she needs you to help them “get probate”. What are they referring to, and how can you assist?

Dec 01, 2011 | Article

New Legislation Changes Probate Rules: Being an Executor can be Taxing

The executor of an estate has many duties. One of them is to ensure that debts and taxes are paid before the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries.
In Ontario, there are two main types of taxes on death: income tax and probate tax (which is formally known as ‘estate administration tax’). Although probate tax was tripled in 1992 from 0.5% to 1.5% of an estate’s value, the Ontario government has not seen a corresponding increase in taxes collected. In May, 2011, the Ontario government passed legislation giving the Ontario Minister of Revenue the power to audit and reassess an estate within four years of the tax being payable. This legislation is to take effect January 1, 2013.

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