Estate Administration in Ontario: Passing of Accounts

In Ontario – estate trustees have legal and fiduciary duties to ensure all accounts are accounted for when an individual has passed away. The deceased individuals’ money must be kept in a separate account and cannot be mixed with the estate trustee’s own personal accounts. There are legal obligations on the estate trustee to not only account for all the assets and money the estate received but also how it is distributed after the passing away of the deceased. All this needs to be provided to the court.

In the event an estate trustee cannot account for how the funds of the estate were distributed or spent – the court may draw an adverse inference and order that the money be returned to the estate if they believe the money was not used for the benefit of the estate. Fortunately, accounting laws in Ontario are very structured with limited wiggle room – making it very difficult to manipulate estate funds.

When to Pass Accounts

The term “Passing of Accounts” refers to the legal process of obtaining the Court’s approval of the executor’s accounts. This process is not applicable to all instances and is instead only required under certain circumstances. Therefore, we recommend consulting with an estate administration lawyer to see if this situation applies to you. Here are certain instances when the Courts need to approve estate accounts:

  • There are minors or mentally incapable beneficiaries;
  • There are contingent beneficiaries or unascertained beneficiaries;
  • When a beneficiary challenges or disputes the estate trustee including disputing the amount of the estate trustee’s compensation; and
  • A beneficiary challenges the handling of the estate accounts by the estate trustee.

How to Pass Accounts in Ontario

In Ontario – in order to complete the passing of accounts, there are documents that are required to be filed with the Superior Court of Justice. Here are a series of documents that are required in order to process the Passing of Accounts:

  • Estate accounts in proper Court format (refer to the Rules of Civil Procedure);
  • Sworn Affidavit from the estate trustee that verifies the estate accounts;
  • A copy of the Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee;
  • A Notice of Application to Pass Accounts; and
  • An accompanying filing fee payable to the Minister of Finance.

We recommend obtaining legal assistance form an estate administration lawyer if you are an executor who has been tasked with the administration of an estate and passing of accounts. This also applies if you are a beneficiary – especially if you need to challenge the administration of an estate. This is not an easy area of law and requires an in-depth understanding of estate law if litigation arises. Contact one of our Richmond Hill estate administration lawyers today for more clarity on this topic.

What Fees Can Executors Claim?

Being an estate trustee is by no means an easy task. In fact, there can be a significant amount of time, care and grievances incurred by an estate trustee and for this reason they may be entitled to executor’s fees. There are typically five factors the courts will review when considering executor’s fees including:

  • The size and complexity of the trust;
  • The care and responsibility required to administer the estate/trust;
  • Time spent performing duties relating to the estate/trust;
  • Skill and ability demonstrated; and
  • The success resulting from the administration of the estate.

Contact Our Richmond Hill Estate Administration Lawyers Regarding Your Legal Needs With Respect To Passing Of Accounts

At Blackburn Lawyers – we have helped Ontarians for decades with the successful passing of accounts on many estate administration matters. No matter how small or big the estate – our Richmond Hill estate administration lawyers can help. Contact our law firm to speak directly with a member of our estate administration team by either calling 905-884-9242 or filling out our online contact form.

Disclaimer: In no way is this article intended to act as legal advice. We recommend you consult with an estate litigation lawyer for specific legal advice pertaining to legal matters on estate administration matters including passing of accounts.