Where there is a will, the executor or trustee, in order to obtain authority to deal with the deceased’s assets, must apply to the Court to obtain the Court’s authority to act in carrying out the deceased’s wishes according to his or her last will and testament. Generally speaking, where there is no will, the closest relative is entitled to apply for letters of administration to wind up the deceased’s estate in accordance with the provincial legislation which provides rules of division of the estate.
“Probate” and “Administration” are now known as “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will” and “Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will”, respectively.
These are prescribed by provincial statute. In Ontario, they amount to 0.5% of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate, i.e., $250.00, and 1.5% of the balance of the estate. For example, the probate fees on an estate worth $250,000.00 would amount to $3,250.00.
There are ways to save a considerable amount on probate fees by dealing, in a separate will, with certain assets which do not need to be put through the probate process.