As of January 1, 2015 estate trustees are required to provide the Minister of Finance with detailed information regarding the value of the deceased’s assets. These new requirements are the result of a comprehensive new regulation to the Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 (the regulation can be viewed at http://www.elaws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_140310_e.htm).
Under the old regime, an estate trustee was only required to provide basic estimates pertaining to the value of the assets in a will. Trustees are now required to provide detailed information including supporting documentation. This includes, but is not limited to:
- information about all bank accounts, including account numbers;
- a breakdown of all investments, including the number of units held;
- the full address of all real property and associated legal descriptions; and
- the percentage of ownership that the deceased held in real property as a tenant-in-common
Importantly, this information must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 days of the appointment of the estate trustee. This forces trustees to aggressively gather information virtually immediately after the date of death.
Exactly how this new regulation will be enforced is still uncertain and only time will tell.
Despite making substantial changes, this new regulation does not affect legal practices surrounding multiple wills or joint assets. In other words, assets that are positioned to pass outside of an estate (thereby avoiding probate fees) will continue to do so. Legal pundits have long speculated that the government will eventually target these strategies, although, for now, they remain valid estate planning mechanisms.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Professional advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.