Probate and Estate Administration


Being appointed to the role of an executor brings along significant legal and financial responsibilities, emphasizing the need to prioritize the best interests of the estate beneficiaries. Failing to adhere to this fiduciary duty and placing personal interests above those of the beneficiaries can lead to serious legal and financial consequences for the executor.

For those unfamiliar with the complexities of the role seeking guidance from a probate lawyer becomes essential. A probate lawyer has the expertise to guide you through executorship responsibilities, offering insights into mandatory duties and their specific timeframes.

The Barrie estates lawyers at Derfel Estate Law specialize in assisting executors, providing comprehensive guidance to help fulfill their responsibilities effectively. Recognizing the unique circumstances each executor faces, our personalized services are tailored to address individual situations and achieve desired outcomes.

Estate Administration in Ontario

Estate administration is the process of organizing and distributing the assets of an estate to the beneficiaries.  The executor is responsible for estate administration.

Where a valid will exists, the executor will distribute assets per the terms stipulated in the will. Where no valid will exists, the assets will be distributed based on “intestacy rules” under the Succession Law Reform Act, which lays out a strict hierarchy of who may be entitled to what.

Probate in Ontario 

Probate refers to the formal court process through which an executor’s authority to act on behalf of the deceased is confirmed.

Through probate, a court approves a testator’s will and formally confirms it as their last will and testament and, subsequently, appoints the individual who will act as the testator.

When Should Probate Take Place?

Probate is not required in every instance, and not every executor must go through the probate process.

Probate should take place where:

  • Court approval is needed to validate a will.
  • There is a dispute over who the executor should be.
  • Proof of an executor’s authority is required for a third party (e.g. a bank that needs to release funds, a land registry office that needs probate before land can be transferred from the deceased’s name into the name of someone else).

Probate Costs 

In Ontario, probate fees are $250 for the first $50,000 of the estate, and $15 for every $1000 thereafter (with no upper limit).

Where probate is required, probate fees are taken out of the estate before any assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

It is possible to significantly reduce, or even avoid, probate fees through guidance from a strategic and knowledgeable estates lawyer.

Derfel Estate Law: Advising Executors on Probate and Estate Administration

If you have been appointed an executor, the Barrie probate lawyers at Derfel Estate Law can advise and guide you on all aspects of estate administration, including determining whether or not probate is required, or assisting you if it is.

Call us at 705-812-2100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.