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Your Probate Application Guide from a Toronto Law Firm

November 13, 2020

Estate planning can be an emotional time for families, which is why we want our clients well informed about the entire process. Probate is a vital part of executing a will to ensure someone’s last wishes are carried out accurately and by the right person. A probate application asks the court to certify the deceased’s last will, appoint a trustee to the estate, and provide legal safeguards throughout the will’s execution.

At Atlas Law Group, we’re passionate about client care and understand how daunting estate planning can be. Here are a few of the common probate questions we get from our clients and some greater detail about the probate process.

What is probate?

Probate takes place after someone has died and before the execution of a will. It’s a legal process to certify the last will and testament of the deceased. Following a probate application, the court gives an estate trustee authority to divide an estate’s assets. If someone dies without a will, the probate process becomes drawn out and complicated. That’s why estate planning is critical to protect loved ones from a legal snarl while they’re grieving.

A probate application asks the court a number of things:

  • Authorize someone as the estate trustee.
  • Confirm the estate trustee’s authority.
  • Approve a will as the last valid will for the deceased.

It may make more sense for your estate to avoid probate entirely. There are benefits and disadvantages to probate, and we can help you determine the best option for your benefactors as part of our estate planning services.

What are the steps of probate?

The actual execution of the will doesn’t happen until you’re well into the probate process:

  1. Probate application: You present a series of documents to the court to open probate.
  2. Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee: The court issues a Letter of Probate, giving the estate trustee authority to divide the estate among benefactors.
  3. Notify benefactors: It’s the trustee’s responsibility to notify the will’s benefactors, as well as the deceased’s next of kin and any possible creditors.
  4. Assess value: The trustee must take a complete inventory of the deceased’s assets; both the court and the benefactors get a copy of the record.
  5. Divide assets: This step can take months if it involves selling a house or establishing trusts.
  6. Close probate: After dividing an estate among the benefactors and paying the court fees, the trustee petitions the court to dissolve the estate.

When you speak with us at Atlas Law Group, we’ll go into greater detail about how probate will affect your assets and help you establish the best course for your family during estate planning.

What do I need to file a probate application?

Knowing the required documents beforehand can help you prepare for probate and ease some of the stress following a death.

  • The will: the last legal will, if it’s available.
  • Supplements to the will: any updates that change or revoke portions of the will.
  • Proof of death: either a death certificate or a court order.
  • List of assets: and their values to calculate the provisional estate tax.

Being well prepared for probate, or avoiding probate altogether, is one aspect of estate planning we go over with our estate planning clients.

Get in touch with the Atlas Law Group team.

It may never feel like the right time to start estate planning. But by organizing your will today, you can save your loved ones from complicated or contentious probate. The Atlas Law Group team can help ensure protection for your assets and last wishes after you’re gone. Reach out to an expert devoted to seeing your interests protected, with an exhaustive knowledge of the probate application process.

Nuances of the probate application process can fill a library of books, a Toronto law firm can provide clarity.