There are typically all kinds of legalities involved when someone passes away. When Ontario residents die without having done any estate planning and no one is available to see to their estates, someone will need to look after estate administration duties. This is where and the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) is likely to step in, in order to protect potential beneficiaries of the estates.
When might the OPGT step in?
There are certain instances when the OPGT will administer an estate. They include:
- If the deceased owned real estate in the province or was a resident of Ontario
- The deceased has no known next-of-kin in Ontario or the only next-of-kin are minors or those not mentally capable of estate administration
- The deceased does not have a valid will or has a will in which the named executor has also died or is no longer capable of administering the estate
- The estate has a minimum value of $10,000 after all debts and funeral expenses have been paid by the estate
When the estate is worth less than $10,000
If the estate is insolvent (or without worth) or is worth less than $10,000, creditors may ask to administer the estate. Any money will likely be released by a bank or financial institution to pay for funeral costs. Small amount of money might also be released to beneficiaries without the need for estate administration. The Bank of Canada usually gets any unclaimed accounts.
It is often crucial for Ontario residents to have done some sort of estate planning. Otherwise, the OPGT will decide issues for them during estate administration. Those decisions may not have been what the decedent would have wanted.
If you’re unsure of what your estate plan should entail, an experienced lawyer should be able to explain that in detail and assist you in fashioning a comprehensive plan.