As Ian Hull and Daniel Enright of our office blogged last week, as of April 1, 2021, small estates in Ontario will be defined as those worth $150,000.00, instead of the $50,000.00 figure we are all used to.

The Ontario Attorney General, Doug Downey, advised that the process of applying to manage an estate in Ontario was the same, whether it is worth $10,000.00 or $10 million, which often deters people from claiming smaller estates.

As a result of this change, more estates will be able to access a simplified probate process, though the amount of probate fees payable will not change.

Although these changes are welcome, some consider that there are still a number of other issues outstanding, such as:

  • Due to real estate values, estates in Toronto could be considered small, whereas that would not be the case in other parts of the province (e.g. a $500,000.00 estate in Toronto could be considered small); and
  • The probate process itself could be simplified, as many financial institutions take the position that assets cannot be managed until such time as probate is obtained (which in turn can often cost an estate, as asset values fluctuate).

A recent article discussing the above-noted points can be found here.

It will certainly be interesting to see if the new changes will make a difference, and whether more changes are coming, in light of the concerns expressed by various members of the legal profession.

Thanks for reading!

Kira Domratchev

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A Simplified Procedure on the way for Modest Estates?

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