A common misconception is that having a will in place prevents one’s estate from going through the probate process. However, the reality is that leaving assets to your family and friends in your will can trigger the probate process. Probate is the validation of a will of a deceased individual by a Court. Probate also serves to verify that an executor has the authority to act for the estate of the Deceased.
What a will does ensure, however, is that an estate is not distributed according to the intestacy laws of Ontario. Intestacy laws were put in place by the government to distribute the property of a deceased when they die without a will in place. Such laws offer an approximation of what the average Ontarian would do with their assets upon their death. These laws often get things almost right, but sometimes get them really, really, wrong.
That said, knowing that having a will won’t prevent the probate process, it’s also important to know that it clarifies what your wishes are with respect to who you want to inherit your assets upon your death, and in what manner. If it is important for you to avoid the probate process, you may want to consider estate planning procedures that goes further than just executing a will such as changing the way how some or all of your assets are owned.
Avoiding probate is often a positive thing, but sometimes there are good reasons for your estate to go through the process. For example, executors will require an estate to go through the probate process before any funds or assets in the Deceased’s name can be accessed for sale and/or distribution. It might also be prudent to put an estate through the probate process if estate litigation is foreseeable.
Contact Zeeshan S. Baig – Toronto Probate Lawyer, at (647) 771-0130 to book your probate consultation today. To prepare for your consultation, please complete this intake questionnaire.