For too long, those in Ontario facing the loss of a loved one have also had to deal with additional grief in the long and costly process of estate administration. Managing the estate of a deceased family member often meant cumbersome rules and expensive management fees, regardless of the size of the estate.
However, upcoming changes in the laws may relieve some of that burden for grieving families.
The Smarter and Stronger Justice Act contains welcome changes to the Estates Act, including updates to over 20 outdated laws and processes family members must deal with to claim a loved one’s estate.
Estates include any assets, such as financial accounts, property, real estate and other valuables that belonged to the deceased person before he or she died. Until now, some families have not had the time, money or know-how to claim the estates of their loved ones, but when the amended laws take effect in the spring, the following changes are expected:
- The limit for what constitutes a “small estate” will change from $50,000 to $150,000.
- The application for estate administration will be more streamlined.
- Families managing small estates will have a simplified probate process so they can claim their inheritances faster.
- Most small estates will be exempt from having to post a bond.
The justice system seems to be trying to offer more assistance for those who are unfamiliar with the estate administration process. This includes providing guidance for applicants and establishing online and remote services. The changes may take some getting used to, but in the long run, the goal of the government is to streamline the process for the average citizen.