Estates law often has distinct legal meanings for common terms. Take the term "personal representative". The term is defined in estates statutes, but also appears with and without definition in business corporations statutes and other statutes. 


Adams v. Ontario (1996) provides that when the phrase "personal representative" is used in connection with a deceased and the administration of the deceased’s estate, it can have only one meaning, which is the meaning set out in the definition contained in the Estates Administration Act, the Trustee Act, and in the Succession Law Reform Act:

1(1) “personal representative” means an executor, an administrator, or an administrator
with the will annexed.

The term is therefore very broad: it includes both the executor (who may never receive probate) and the recipient of a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will.

The same case acknowledges that the term “personal representative” can have other meanings when it is not applied to a deceased or the administration of a deceased’s estate, such as in Ontario’s Business Corporations Act.

Thanks for reading,

Christopher M.B. Graham – Click here for more information on Chris Graham.