On January 1, 2022, numerous amendments to the procedure of estate administration came into force in Ontario. The overarching intention is to streamline, and ideally simplify, various aspects of the probate and administration process. While many of the amendments are minor in their effect, two of these amendments are particularly noteworthy.
First, a series of new court forms first made available this past September have become the de facto forms to be used in all new filings. Older versions of these forms are no longer accepted, as singular new forms have replaced multiple older forms in an effort to avoid redundancy.
For example, previously an application for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee could require different forms depending on the specifics of the applicant or of the estate in question, such as whether the deceased died with a will or without a will, or whether the applicant was an individual or a corporation. These application forms have now been consolidated into a single revised form, Form 74A. Other related forms, such as certificates of appointment of estate trustee, have similarly been consolidated into a single form.
Separately, an amendment to section 9 of the Estates Administration Act introducing three new forms for estate trustees also came into force with the new year, all of which relate to real property held by a deceased person. The first is a Caution, which may be filed by an estate trustee with the land registry office in order to give notice to all persons with a financial interest in the Estate that a particular real property may need to be disposed of. Section 9 of the Estates Administration Act provides that interests in real property devolving to the beneficiaries of an estate vest in those beneficiaries automatically three years from the deceased’s date of death. The registration of a caution precludes this automatic devolution.
Two related forms, a Certificate of Withdrawal and an Affidavit of Witness, have also been introduced. These forms, discussed at section 9(4) and 9(5) of the Estates Administration Act, respectively, are to be filed with the land registry office by the estate trustee if they intend to withdraw the Caution prior to its automatic expiry after three years.
A new year brings new and good tidings, and these amendments are but a few of the many changes that have come to the estate administration and probate processes in 2022. Our lawyers can help guide you through these updates to estate administration regulations and advise on how to navigate the changes.
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