Access to bank account after death in Canada

Access to bank account after death in Canada

The financial institution must be notified upon the death of the account holder. If the account is under the sole name of the deceased then the financial institution will convert it to an estate account.

The personal representatives may discover that they are unable to withdraw funds from the bank account due to lack of a will being probated. It is important to know the executor may be able to withdraw funds from the deceased account to pay immediate expenses such as funeral bills, utility bills, property tax, probate tax, probate lawyer fees, and other direct costs.

Once you have obtained a copy of the death certificate, you should arrange for a meeting with your branch manager. All financial institutions are very cooperative with the family members of the deceased.

Your bank would require a copy of an invoice to prepare in the name of the deceased before issuing a bank draft. Therefore, all invoices should be in the name of the deceased with the care of the executor. Example: Deceased C/o Executor.

Access to bank account after death in Canada

What is Probate in Ontario?

Probate is a process when the court issues a Certificate Appointment of Estate Trustee. The person appointed as an Estate Trustee has the legal authority to deal with the deceased’s estate. If there is a Will, then the certificate confirms the Will to be the last and valid Will of the deceased. 

How do I know if probate is needed_

How do I know if probate is needed?

The nature of assets or any objections against the executor would determine if probate is needed. You would need probate if any one of the following applies to you:

    • Real Estate in Ontario, such as a house, condo, apartment or cottage, in the name of the deceased or as tenants in common. 
    • bank accounts (includes foreign banks)
    • Shares, bonds, trust units, options, mutual funds, TFSAs, RRSPs, RRIFs
    • vehicles such as cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, trailers situated in or outside Ontario
    • goods or material 
    • business property & interests
    • insurance
    • If there is any dispute about the choice of the estate trustee or his/her actions.

You would not need to file probate if the assets were jointly owned for example joint bank accounts or joint tenants of a real estate or if the beneficiary was a designated beneficiary of a specific account such as RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs.

Who is Executor of Estate

An executor is a person named in the Will to carry out the deceased’s wishes and directions. The court confirms the appointment of the executor named in the Will by issuing a Certificate of Appointment of Trustee. If there is no will, then the executor effectively is the person who received a Certificate of Appointment of Trustee by the court.

certificate of appointment

Does a will always have to probate?

No, a will does not always have to be probated if any one of the following situations applies:

  • Real Estate Property outside Ontario
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefits
  • Assets that pass by beneficiary designation do not need to be probated such as Jointly owned bank accounts, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs with a named beneficiary other than ‘Estate’.
  • Insurance proceeds paid to a named beneficiary other than ‘Estate’
  • Real estate where the title of the property is owned as “Joint Tenants.” You do not need probate to transfer the property. You need to file a Survivorship Application to transfer the real estate. 
  • RESP is not required to be probated if both partners are joint subscribers of the plan, such as your spouse or common-law partner. If RESP is under a single subscriber’s name, then RESP would need to be probated. RESP is an asset which, until paid to the Beneficiary for school purpose, remains the asset of the estate.

Probate Lawyer Fees

Learn More about our probate lawyer fees structure. 

Have a Question
(905) 795 7757

Call us

(905) 795 7757


(905) 795 1271

Get Free 15 Minutes Phone Consultation
  • Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Call Now ButtonCall Now