Wills & Trusts

Estate planning involves the transfer of someone’s assets (e.g. property, money) when they die, as well as a variety of other personal matters. Wills, estates, trusts and power of attorney are all common tools used in estate planning. This section also contains information about family members who can’t take care of themselves.

Wills, Estates and Trusts

Power of Attorney

What is a will?

A person’s will is a written document that sets out the person’s wishes about how his or her estate should be taken care of and distributed after death. It takes effect when the person dies.

What is an estate?

An estate is the property that a person owns or has a legal interest in. The term is often used to describe the assets and liabilities left by a person after death.

What is a trust?

A trust is created to hold property or assets for the benefit of a particular person called the beneficiary. It is managed by a person called a trustee, who has an obligation to deal with the property for the beneficiary of the trust. There are many different kinds of trusts.

How do I get a copy of someone’s will after they die?

When an estate application with a will has been filed with the Superior Court of Justice, you can contact the court office and request a copy of the person’s will. You will have to pay a fee to the court for the copy.More…

How do I apply for death benefits?

There are benefits from the federal government, which may be available to a surviving spouse and dependent children of a deceased person and to the deceased person’s estate.More…

How do I find out about the status of my estate application?

Inquiries about the status of an estate application that has been filed with the Superior Court of Justice should be directed to the Superior Court of Justice location where the application was filed. More…

How do I calculate the amount of the estate administration tax?

The estate administration tax is calculated on the total value of the deceased’s estate. It is sworn/affirmed to on the application for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee under “Value of Assets of Estate”.More…

How do I prove I’m an heir (someone who inherits property) to an estate?

If someone dies without a will in Ontario and the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is appointed by the Court as the estate trustee, any person claiming a share of the estate will have to prove they are entitled to inherit.More…

How is an estate distributed?

  • When a person dies with a will, the estate is distributed according to the directions in the will.
  • When a person dies without a valid will intestate Ontario’s law on intestate succession requires a specific distribution of the estate.More…

How can I find out what happened to an estate of a family member?

You should first contact the Superior Court of Justice in the county where your relative lived at the time of his or her death, to see if someone was appointed estate trustee.More…

Where can I find court forms for estates proceedings?

You should contact a supplier of legal forms listed in the yellow pages. The forms can be viewed on the Rules for Civil Procedures Forms website, beginning with form 74.4. You will need to ensure that the form complies with the rules of court regarding format.

Why is the Office of the Children’s Lawyer involved in an estate or trust matter?

The Children’s Lawyer acts on behalf of persons under the age of 18 in various estates, trusts, guardianship and other matters.More…

Why is the Public Guardian and Trustee involved in an estate or trust matter?

The Public Guardian and Trustee plays a role in protecting mentally incapable people , protecting the public’s interest in charities, searching for heirs, investing perpetual care funds and dealing with dissolved corporations.

Where can I find more information about estates?

Frequently asked questions about estates.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document, often referred to as a “POA”, that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf.

Why do I need a power of attorney?

Many people believe their families will be able to step in if something happens and they cannot make decisions for themselves. This isn’t always true. More…

What is a power of attorney kit?

A power of attorney kit is a booklet containing forms for making power of attorney arrangements. By making powers of attorney, people can plan ahead to make sure their wishes are carried out.

Where can I get a power of attorney kit?

Are there different kinds of power of attorney?

  • Yes. In Ontario there are three kinds of Power of Attorney:
    1. Continuing Power of Attorney for Property
    2. Power of Attorney for Personal Care
    3. Non-continuing Power of Attorney for Property
  • More information on the types of power of attorney.

What if I don’t want a power of attorney?

  • No one can make you sign a power of attorney if you don’t want to. But, if you don’t choose one, the government may have to appoint someone to make certain decisions for you if you become unable to make decisions yourself.
  • It’s better if you choose someone you feel you can really trust, who knows your wishes.