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How do I apply for a certificate of appointment with a will?

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How do I apply for a certificate of appointment with a will?
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Ontario Securities Commission
Ministry of the Attorney General

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How do I apply for a certificate of appointment with a will?
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Reviewed: 
January 2, 2020
Answer

As an estate trustee named in a will, you may have to apply for probate or a certificate of appointment. This means that you prove to the court that the will is valid and that you as the estate trustee have the right to deal with the estate.

Not all wills have to be probated. If the estate is small and does not include any real property, the will itself may be enough. But you may have to probate if, for example:

  • a bank or another financial institution requires probate to release money in the person's bank account
  • there is real property held by the person as sole owner or tenants-in-common that you need to sell
  • family, relatives, or friends disagree about whether the will is valid

The question "I've been named an estate trustee in a will. What do I have to do?" has more information on the other duties of an estate trustee. For example, you may have to also:

  • arrange for the funeral and burial or cremation
  • stop payments that end on death, like CPP, OAS, social assistance, and disability insurance payments
  • cancel driver's licence, social insurance and OHIP cards
  • find and value all assets in the estate
  • pay any taxes and debts that are owed
  • file tax returns
  • distribute the property in the estate based on what the will says

Get legal help

The steps to probate a will are complicated. You may want to get help from an estates lawyer and from an accountant. Their fees are usually paid from the estate if they're reasonable.

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