A will is a vital legal document that every Canadian citizen must have when they reach adulthood. It detailed their wishes and desired outcomes for the ownership of their belongings, assets, and estate when they pass, ensuring it lands into the intended hands. The person who crafted the will must also appoint an estate trustee responsible for executing it once the will’s owner has passed.
Estate trustees are usually recognized individuals, such as a family member or a close friend. They hold an incredible degree of confidence from the will’s owner, as they are expected to carry out the will according to the owner’s exact desires. Some complications tend to arise when executing their wishes, especially in the passing of accounts, so it is essential to appoint a responsible person for the role.
The Estate Trustee’s Duties
Although many people believe that estate trustees must always be an accountant or lawyer, this isn’t necessarily true. However, being a lawyer or an accountant helps understand the process since the estate trustee has the legal obligation to maintain an accurate and complete set of accounts that list the deceased’s assets. It must then undergo a process of “passing of accounts” in which the court must approve these accounts, like double-checking the estate trustee’s work. Since this appointed role often isn’t a professional, the passing of accounts usually involves professional assistance and advice.
It’s important to note that not all accounts need to be passed. An example of this instance would be beneficiaries allowing an informal summary and release of the estate trustee. However, cases in which the accounts must be passed include minor, contingent, incapable, or ascertained beneficiaries, and when the beneficiary challenges the estate accounts’ handling.
The Process of Passing Accounts
If an estate trustee wants to or is required to pass an account, they must consider many important factors. The estate trustee must file many documents with the Superior Court of Justice, including reports in the designated court format, such as Form 74.43, the Affidavit of the Estate Trustee Verifying Estate Accounts. They must also file Form 74.44, which is The Notice of Application to Pass Accounts, along with the certificate of appointment as the estate trustee.
They must also pay a filing fee of $322 to the Minister of Finance. As an estate trustee, they may be obliged to attend hearings or appoint an estate litigator to participate in their stead. If one of the will’s beneficiaries is a minor, the estate trustee must notify the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and involve them in the process. This ruling also applies if the beneficiary has a disability, in which the trustee must notify the Public Guardian.
If any beneficiary objects to the accounts, the trustee must abide by the process for submitting a Notice of Objection, which can be located in Rule 74.18. Given all the legal documents and complicated processes involved, the estate trustee should work with a will and estate lawyer in Kanata.
According to their last will and testament, carrying out a deceased person’s wishes is an essential but often complicated process. It is crucial to appoint a responsible person as an estate trustee to oversee the passing of accounts and ensure they work with an estate planning attorney to guarantee a smooth process.
Ontario Wills & Estate Plans is a team of lawyers in Kanata, Ontario, who offers quality legal advice by video conference. We recognize that different circumstances require different solutions, so our Ottawa wills and estate lawyers will cater legal solutions to your needs. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!