I provide the following services for Estates:
We draft the paperwork for obtaining a Grant of Probate (if there is a will) or a Grant of Administration (if there is no will, also called Intestate) or a Grant of Administration with Will Annexed (if the Will is insufficient in some manner). The Grant is a court order appointing the Personal Representative (also called the Executor, Trustee or Administrator) with the authority to deal with the estate. The court application also gives notice to the public (financial institutions, life insurance companies, and government offices, such as Land Titles, Canada Revenue) that the Estate of the deceased is being distributed. The court process assures the persons and institutions dealing with the Estate that there has been public notice provided, as well as specific notice to relevant persons, and that the estate can be safely distributed.
Obtaining a Grant protects your Executor(s) from personal liability in distributing the estate assets and paying estate debts, including filing for the final Clearance Certificate from Canada Revenue Agency for income tax and capital gains. Without a Grant from the court, the executor may be personally liable for distributing an Estate if he/she does so improperly. There are situations when a Grant is mandatory, such as when Real Estate has to be transferred from the deceased’s name, or when financial institutions have to transfer account balances to the estate. These transactions require a Grant to protect the bank prior to the transfer; the Grant provides liability protection for the banks, institutions and, to a certain extent, the personal representative.
We also provide legal services in Estate Litigation. There are many situations that can arise in the distribution of an estate, such as disagreements over the distribution of specific assets, valuation of assets, payment of debts, collection on debts, forgiveness of debts to the estate, an alleged improper/invalid Will, an improper or unreasonable distribution of an estate, undue influence in writing a Will, undue influence in making a gift prior to death, a dependent person not receiving sufficient maintenance funds, personal representative compensation, etc.
We also make court applications for the set-up of a Trustee and a Guardian for a Represented Adult. We can also assist with the reporting and accounting to the courts after a Represented adult application has been granted. A Court application is necessary when a loved one has lost the capacity to make decisions on their own, or lacks the physical ability to take care of themselves, or both. The court has to appoint a Guardian for the healthcare decisions and a Trustee to look after their assets.
These applications become necessary when the individual was born with a developmental delay and has not been able to overcome it. Just before their 18th birthday, it is necessary for their parents / guardians to make a Represented Adult application to continue to have legal authority to look after their affairs, both financial and medical. In other situations, it is an older adult that has suddenly lost capacity due to illness or injury and it becomes necessary for the family to make a court application. The cost, effort and complexity of these court applications can be avoided if the individual is able to sign an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive prior to losing their capacity.
If you have any questions or concerns about Probate, Administering an Estate or Represented Adults, please contact us to discuss.
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