Learn about giving gifts

What are probate fees and can I reduce them?
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Learn about giving gifts

The simplest way to reduce probate fees is to give property to someone as a gift while you're still alive. The legal term for this is "inter vivos" gift.

Before you give away property while you're still alive, it's a good idea to talk to an estates lawyer or financial advisor. They can advise you on how best to make gifts and the best way to reduce taxes. They can also help you decide if the gift will impact your future financial security.

If you have items like family heirlooms, jewellery, furniture, or a car that you want someone to have, you can gift it to them while you're alive. This means it does not become part of your estate when you die and it is not included when calculating probate fees.

But be aware you may need to pay tax on some types of gifts. For example, if you gift company shares, mutual funds, or a family cottage that are worth more than what you paid for them, you may need to pay capital gains tax.

If you gift your car to a family member, you may have to pay sales tax. But you may be able to get an exemption from sales tax if you both fill out a sworn statement and take it to the government office when the ownership is being transferred. You will still have to get a safety standards certificate unless the gift is to your spouse or to your common law partner.

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Reviewed: October 31, 2019

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