“Letters of Probate” means a legal document issued by a court that proves the validity of a will. it also appoints an executor (often a person named in the will). The Government of Ontario now calls Letters of Probate a “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (with a will).” The two terms mean the same thing. The Government simply changed the name of “letters of probate” to do away with the Latin term “probate” (which means to “test or prove”).
To obtain the Certificate (aka letters of probate), you will need to file an Application with the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario. The Application goes to the court office responsible for estates the region where the deceased person lived.
The Application typically includes the original will, if one exists. It also includes other information about the deceased person’s assets and debts. The court then reviews the Application and, if it is in order, will issue the Certificate (aka letters of probate) to the executor named in the will.
If the deceased person did not have a will, this means that he/she died “intestate”. More information on that situation can be found here.
The process of applying for a Certificate may feel complex and overwhelming. If you require professional assistance, contact us for help. We can draft the required forms and obtain the certificate to authorize the executor to carry out his/her duties in administering the estate. The government of Ontario publishes more information about the steps involved available here.
To clarify a common misconception – Letters of probate and the duties of an estate executor are related concepts, but not one and the same. For more information about the duties of an estate executor click here.
The Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (aka letters of probate) is a legal document. The court issues the document as proof that of the will’s validity. The document shows that the executor has the authority to administer the estate of the deceased person. The executor does this according to the terms of the will and the laws of the jurisdiction in which the person lived.
An estate executor, on the other hand, is a person appointed by the court to manage the deceased person’s estate. The executor’s responsibilities include identifying the assets of the estate, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The executor must also file any necessary tax returns, and manage the estate’s assets. From time to time, the executor must provide accounting to the court and the beneficiaries. More information about the responsibilities of an executor is available here.
In summary, the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (aka letters of probate) confirms the validity of the will and the appointment of the executor.
If you require assistance obtaining a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (aka letters of probate) in Ontario, contact us for more information.