Laws on Probate of a Will in Canada

By Monty Dayton
It is important to understand probate laws in Canada to know how a will is going to be executed.

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There are many things to look at when it comes to executing a last will in Canada. One positive of probate law in Canada is that this nation has no estate tax, which means there aren't any taxes on the national level to discharge before splitting up the estate. There are fees involved, but understanding Canadian probate ahead of time can smooth the process out for everyone involved.

Letters Probate

Letters probate are court documents that confirm the legal validity of a person's will. These must be applied for from a court, and a hearing with probate lawyers will be held to determine if the letters will be administered. If these are released, the property is then split up according to the wishes of the legal will, with the probate court's fees coming off the top as a percentage before the remainder is split among the surviving benefactors.

Legal Handlers Probate

Probate for a person's will is executed differently depending on the specific situation. If the will names an executor of the estate, that person is responsible for going to probate court, filing the necessary papers, presenting at court, and presenting lists of property, debts and wishes for the division of assets from the will. The executor is also responsible for finding, securing and managing the assets during the probate process, which commonly takes up to a full year to complete. If there is no executor named in the will, then the court will assign someone to represent the property during probate.

Ways to Avoid Probate

There are many laws designed to help individuals avoid putting their estate and property into probate. One of the most common methods is writing a will that has a pay-on-death designation. This designation means one person inherits all the assets of the person who is dying, and the entire property is transferred upon death of the individual. A living trust is another method that many Canadian citizens use to avoid probate, and as a last resort for someone who doesn't have many assets, a tax-free gift of up to $10,000 a year can be given to relatives. That money never enters probate because it's no longer part of the estate.

About the Author

Monty Dayton is a professional freelance writer who has worked for the ACLU, Touchstone Publishing LLC, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and many other employers. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Alaska and loves writing about travel, the outdoors and health topics.

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