How to Avoid Delays in Obtaining a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee
One of the complaints I often hear from estate administration counsel is that applications they submit for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee are rarely approved on the first try and are at times returned more than once with different corrections.
This issue was the subject of a paper recently presented by Malcolm S. Archibald at the Six-Minute Estates Lawyer 2007. A few of the suggestions he makes to ensure your application is accepted included the following:
- have total uniformity of names and addresses in the materials with the way they appear in the Will;
- identify when someone is known by another name or incorrectly referred to in the Will;
- serve a notice of application on all beneficiaries entitled to a share in the estate;
- do not send a notice of application to a beneficiary in care of someone else;
- set out in detail the reasons why you have been unable to serve any beneficiary with the notice of application;
- if you have undervalued the value of the estate or missed an asset, file a solicitor’s letter and affidavit explaining the true value of the estate and the reason for the change and provide payment for the increased tax payable; and
- if you are submitting a holograph Will, file an affidavit attesting to the handwriting and signature as well (preferably not sworn by a beneficiary).*
If you are unable to resolve an issue with respect to the application with the court office, Mr. Archibald recommends writing a letter setting out your position addressed to the Registrar to be given to a judge for consideration.
I understand that efforts are being made to standardize the estate court office’s approach to such applications. So, if you have ever completed an application correctly and had it returned to you, there is a chance that you will encounter this problem less frequently as greater consistency in the approach at the court office is established.
Enjoy the rest of the week.
* For additional guidelines, you can obtain a copy of the Estates Procedures Manual from the Ministry of the Attorney General.