When a person dies without a Will in Ontario, someone has to apply to the court to be appointed as the estate trustee to administer the deceased estate. To protect the estate and the beneficiaries, the Superior Court of Justice often requires the person who is asking to be appointed as estate trustee to post an estate administration bond. The bond is in place to protect the estate while the estate trustee pays the debts of the deceased and distributes the estate to the beneficiaries.
Many people may not realize this, but digital assets are actually a form of property. They are most commonly files and data stored on digital devices, such as a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. Digital assets include emails received, email accounts, digital music, digital photographs, social network accounts (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Kijiji), online banking loyalty programs, iTunes, Netflix, Bitcoin and even online role-playing games.
In Ontario, we operate under a policy of ‘testamentary freedom’. There are, however, some restrictions on this testamentary freedom. One is the requirement under the Succession Law Reform Act to leave adequate financial provision for persons who are financially dependent on the deceased, such as a spouse or minor children. Another restriction has to do with public policy considerations. In short, where an individual makes a Will that offends societal values, the Will, or part of it, could be set aside.
Lawyer Marcia Green will be presenting at this panel and discussion on April 7th and will cover the many legal aspects of estate planning, such as wills, living wills and trusts so you are prepared and not surprised by life – and death – events.
For many years, Ontario residents have attempted to organize their assets to avoid payment of the EAT. Many financial advisors are complicit in these attempts by suggesting ways to avoid EAT without fully explaining the problems that can arise.
On January 29, 2016, the Superior Court of Justice issued a Practice Advisory to provide guidance on how an application should be brought to the Superior Court for Judicial Authorization of Physician Assisted Death.
As of January 1, 2015, all estate administrators must now complete and file an Estate Information Return Form. The form must be filed within 90 calendar days after a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee has been issued. This only applies to all Certificates of Appointments that were issued after January 1, 2015.
People have passwords for online banking and for many other assets and stored information. Passwords also change. All of this makes it very difficult for executors to ensure that they know where the deceased’s assets are and to gain access to them.
The Ontario Substitute Decisions Act establishes two distinct powers of attorney: for personal care; and for property. A power of attorney for property is activated immediately upon it being signed, unless it contains a restriction or condition stating that the power of attorney for property will not be activated until some future event. Such a conditional power of attorney is called a ‘springing power of attorney’.
If you are not getting any answers from your Estate Trustee, then you can ask the court to assist you in getting the answers to your questions. To get assistance from the court as a beneficiary, you are allowed to make an Application for Direction. An Application for Direction is a court procedure, but it can be time-consuming and expensive if you are unaware of the process. The following are a few of the major steps in applying to the court for direction.