If you are an estate executor in Ontario, then the administration of the estate may seem like an impassable web of affidavits, notices and forms. Following the correct procedure is highly important, however, and you're not alone if you feel overwhelmed by the requirements. Many estate trustees turn to an experienced estate administration lawyer for help.
A common question executors ask is, "Where do I apply for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee?" The answer can be found in Section 7 of the Estates Act:
- If the deceased was a resident of Ontario at the time of death, then the application must be filed with the Superior Court of Justice in the district or county where the deceased resided.
- If the deceased was not a resident of Ontario at the time of death but did own property in the province, then the application must be filed with the Superior Court of Justice in the district or county where the property is located.
Another of an executor's duties is to send notice to all beneficiaries when the executor applies for a certificate of appointment. There are specific guidelines for this process, and Rule 74 of the Rules of Civil Procedure clarifies which forms must be used:
- Form 74.7 - Notice of an Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will - must be sent to each beneficiary named in the will. If a beneficiary cannot be served this form, then Form 74.6 - Affidavit of Service of Notice - must be used to explain why (unknown address, gift no longer exists, beneficiary is deceased, etc.).
- When there is no will, Form 74.17 - Notice of an Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will -- must be used to notify all beneficiaries. If a beneficiary cannot be served the form in this instance, then an explanation as to why must be included in Form 74.16.
Procedural mistakes in estate administration are not uncommon, so it makes sense to seek help from a lawyer with experience in handling these matters effectively and efficiently.