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Is a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee always needed?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2020 | Estate Administration

When a loved one passes away, they ordinarily leave behind assets, debts and other property that need to be distributed, disposed of or otherwise handled. Probate may be necessary in order to accomplish these and other tasks, which requires a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee from the court.

However, it may not always be necessary to obtain this certificate in order to administer the estate.

When would a certificate not be necessary?

One of the biggest considerations is real property. If the decedent did not own any real estate, it may not be necessary to obtain a certificate, which would be needed in order to sell or otherwise transfer the property. Other situations in which a certificate may not be required include the following:

  • If there is a will that names an estate trustee 
  • If no one disputes the validity of the will
  • If no one else believes they would do a better job or should have been given the position of estate trustee
  • If the legal consent of all beneficiaries listed in the will can be obtained

It may not always be easy to make sure a situation meets all the above criteria.

However, when embarking on the estate administration process, it would make sense to determine right away whether a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee is necessary. Even so, making the wrong choice could prove disastrous and open up the individual serving in this capacity to personal liability. For this and other reasons, it would be beneficial to consult with an Ontario lawyer with experience in this area of law before moving forward.


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