If you have been appointed as an estate trustee in Ontario, then your many responsibilities include locating and evaluating estate assets, locating and contacting beneficiaries, ensuring that all taxes are paid… the list of tasks is very long. Understandably, many trustees and executors find their duties to be daunting.
In fact, at the beginning of this year, the responsibilities of estate trustees in Ontario increased. Prior to January 2015, a person appointed as a trustee could, for the calculation of the estate administration tax, report the value of the estate without showing exactly how the value was estimated. That is no longer the case.
Now, within 90 days of receiving your Certificate of Appointment, Estate Trustees are required to file an Estate Information Return. This filing includes a list of assets to explain how the total value of the estate was estimated.
Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, those assets could include real estate, investments such as stocks and bonds, bank accounts, insurance policies, business assets, vehicles and more.
Matters can become particularly complicated if the estate was not well planned or, if there was a plan, there are inconsistencies or oversights.
Nonetheless, trustees and executors face potential liabilities, not to mention heartache and confusion among family members, when financial and administrative details are not handled properly.
For more on the duties of executors and how Hagel Lawfirm can help, please see our overview on Ontario probate and estate administration.