How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate

Is it worth to go to Probate?

When a loved one passes away, their estate often goes through a legal process known as probate. This process involves the validation of the deceased’s will (if one exists) and the distribution of their assets under court supervision. One of the most common questions we encounter at Shaikh Law Firm is: “How much does an estate have to be worth to go to probate?”

This page aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the probate process in Ontario, focusing on the financial thresholds that may exempt an estate from probate or subject it to this legal procedure.

How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go To Probate

What is Probate?

 A Probate is a court process that confirms the validity of a will and the executor’s authority to distribute the deceased’s assets. In cases where there is no will, probate serves to appoint an individual to manage and distribute the estate according to provincial laws.

What Happens When Someone Dies?

Next Steps and Legal Procedures

The passing of a loved one is a challenging time, and navigating legal obligations can be overwhelming. Here are some essential steps and considerations:

  1. Notify the Federal Government: It’s important to inform the federal government of the death to update records and determine eligibility for benefits. For a comprehensive checklist on who to notify and understand the benefits you may be eligible for, please click HERE: Notify the Federal Government of a Death.
  2. Considering Probate in Ontario: If you are managing the deceased’s estate, you may need to apply for probate. Probate is the legal process of validating a will and authorizing an executor or administrator to distribute the estate. In other words, How Much Does an Estate Have to Be Worth to Go to Probate?
  3. When to Apply for Probate: Before filing for probate, it’s crucial to understand the process and what’s involved. For valuable insights and tips, we invite you to read our detailed guide, “9 Tips You Must Know When Applying for Probate in Ontario”, available here.

The Purpose of Probate

Validation of the Will

Ensures the will is legally valid and reflects the deceased's final wishes. If no will, appointes an executor.

Estate Administration

Grants legal authority to the executor to act on behalf of the estate, providing protection from personal liability.

Financial Thresholds for Probate in Ontario

The requirement for probate and the associated fees can vary significantly depending on the value of the estate. In Ontario, the key considerations regarding the estate’s value and the necessity for probate are as follows:

Small Estates
Ontario recognizes a “small estate” as one with a total value of $50,000 or less. Small estates may be subject to a simplified probate process, designed to reduce the complexity and cost of administering smaller estates.

Estates Exceeding the Small Estate Threshold
For estates valued above $50,000, the standard probate process applies. The probate fees (officially known as the Estate Administration Tax) are calculated based on the total value of the estate’s assets. As of the latest update, the fees are structured as follows:

No estate administration tax is payable on the first $50,000 of the estate value.
For the value of the estate over $50,000, the tax is calculated at a rate of 1.5%.

Estate Administration Tax Calculator

Probate tax Ontario

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Assets That May Not Require Probate

It’s important to note that not all assets are subject to probate. Certain types of assets may bypass the probate process entirely, such as:

  • Jointly owned assets with a right of survivorship.

  • Life insurance policies with a designated beneficiary (other than the estate).

  • Registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) with named beneficiaries

Our Services
Tailored Legal Solutions in Wills, Estates, and Probate Law

At Shaikh Law Firm, we provide a comprehensive range of services to address all aspects of wills, estates, and probate law, ensuring your needs are met with expertise and care:

  • Last Will & Testament:  As a wills lawyer in Oakville, we specialize in drafting and executing legally binding wills that reflect your final wishes. Our expertise ensures that your will is prepared in accordance with legal standards, safeguarding your intentions for the future.
  • Living Will/Health Care Directive: Establishing directives for health care decisions to guide your loved ones and healthcare providers.
  • Probate Applications: As a probate lawyer in Oakville, we specialize in navigating the complexities of probate applications. Whether it’s a simple or contested case, our expertise ensures a smooth process in validating wills and administering estates. We provide comprehensive support in filing applications, handling legal documentation, and offering guidance through the entire probate process.
  • Power of Attorney for Property & Personal Care: Preparing documents to appoint someone to manage your property and personal care in case of incapacity.
  • Incapacity Planning: Strategizing for unexpected life events to ensure your affairs are managed as per your wishes.
  • Multiple Wills for Tax Efficiency: Creating separate wills to optimize tax benefits and streamline estate administration.
  • Mirror Wills Between Spouses: Coordinating wills for spouses to ensure mutual goals and wishes are honored.
  • Business Succession Plans: Developing strategies for the seamless transition of your business interests.
  • Family Trusts: Establishing trusts to manage and protect family assets for future generations.
  • Estate Planning Including Real Estate Transfers: Comprehensive estate planning services, including the transfer of real estate holdings.

Connect with us to discuss how our specialized services can assist you in planning and securing your legacy with precision and foresight.

Importance of making a Will

The key benefit of having a will in Canada is the control it gives you over who receives your property and how it is divided among your beneficiaries. Creating a will is a crucial step in managing your estate and ensuring your wishes are respected.

  • Personalized Property Distribution: With a will, you have the choice in deciding exactly who gets what. This is vital to ensure your assets are distributed according to your personal wishes, rather than being divided according to general legal guidelines.
  • Making Specific Gifts: You can specify gifts in your will, whether it’s particular items, sums of money, or donations to charities. This allows you to make meaningful bequests to individuals or causes you care about.
  • Appointing a Guardian for Minor Children: If you have children under the age of 18, a will is essential for appointing a guardian to care for them. This decision is incredibly important for their future well-being and security.
  • Peace of Mind: Another essential aspect of a will is ensuring peace of mind. Knowing that your assets and loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes can bring immense comfort.

Therefore, if you own property, have any form of assets such as a balance in the bank, a car, or if you have minor children and want to ensure your assets are divided as per your wish, and/or your minor child has a guardian after your death, it is important to have a will in Canada.

At Shaikh Law Firm, we understand the intricacies of creating a will that accurately reflects your desires and needs. Contact us today to ensure your legacy is secured and your loved ones are protected.

probate legal fees

Do you need a lawyer to file for a probate in Ontario?

No. A short answer is you do not need a lawyer to file for a probate application. There is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer to file a probate application in Ontario.

However, it is essential to understand that a probate lawyer would be qualified to draft the probate application as per Ontario’s civil procedure rules. An experienced estate lawyer or a probate lawyer can look after all aspects of a probate application. The chances of rejection of a probate application would be less if you were to retain an estate & probate lawyer who is more experienced in drafting such applications. Your lawyer will be responsible for attending to any court objections and resolving such complaints to the judge’s satisfaction.

A probate lawyer can also advise a tax-efficient way to file probate and guide you to take steps to protect assets and what other measures are needed other than probate application.

Overall, an estate lawyer can get the probate process completed faster than others. A probate lawyer will be your go-to person if you run into a problem when distributing the assets.

Avoid Complications

Hire Probate Lawyer

Experienced Probate Lawyers

Our passion, experience, and unwavering commitment to our client’s success sets us apart from others.

Choose your package

legal fees

Small Estate
$ 1500 + HST
  • Estate Value Less than $50,000
  • Will Present
  • Will Not Disputed
  • Legal Advice on Estate Laws
  • Consultation with Probate Lawyer
  • Review of All Documents
  • Drafting of Court Documents
  • Submission of Court Documents
  • Probate Tax NOT INCLUDED
  • Uncontested Probate
Lowest Fees

legal fees

No Will
$ 2500 + HST
  • Multiple Beneficiary
  • Will NOT Present
  • Distribution of Assets not contested
  • Legal Advice on Estate Laws
  • Consultation with Probate Lawyer
  • Review of All Documents
  • Drafting of Court Documents
  • Submission of Court Documents
  • Probate Tax NOT INCLUDED
  • Uncontested Probate

legal fees

Will Present
$ 1800 + HST
  • Estate Value More than $50,000
  • Will Present
  • Will Not Disputed
  • Legal Advice on Estate Laws
  • Consultation with Probate Lawyer
  • Review of All Documents
  • Drafting of Court Documents
  • Submission of Court Documents
  • Probate Tax NOT INCLUDED
  • Uncontested Probate
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