What to expect when you are appointed as an Executor in Ontario

What to expect when you are appointed as an Executor in Ontario

by | Oct 23, 2023 | Wills & Estates

There is no simple answer when it comes to wills, the process of probate and estate administration. Each situation is unique and varies on numerous factors. In a time of grief after the loss of a loved one, the process of being an Executor is tricky to say the least. In the simplest terms, an Executor carries out the wishes of the deceased as outlined in their will.

 What are the responsibilities of an Executor?

  1. Take care of all the affairs of the deceased as outlined in their will.
  2. Pay all taxes, bills and any other debts.
  3. Distribute the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries as outlined in the deceased’s will.
  4. As an Executor, you may need to apply to the court to get probate.

What is probate?  

Probate is the process by which the wishes and the estate of the deceased, as laid out in their will, are carried out as records in the court. Probate will also validate your role as the Executor.

From Ontario.ca, a person’s belongings are called their estate.

In Ontario, an Executor is the only person with the legal authority to manage or distribute an estate.

Probate is a procedure to ask the court to either:

  • Give a person the authority to act as the Executor of an estate, if there wasn’t one named in the will
  • Confirm the authority of a person named as the Executor in the deceased’s will and
  • Formally approve that the deceased’s will is their valid last will

Do all wills need to go through the process of probate?  

No. The types of assets held in the estate will determine if a will needs to be probated. Common assets in a will that need to be probated are real estate and investments held by financial institutions.

An estate lawyer can help you determine if the will needs to be probated as well as how to apply for probate of an estate, your legal duties and responsibilities as an Executor and your legal rights.

How much does probate cost?

The fees for probate depend on the type of assets held and the complexity of the court requirements. As always, McMurter & Associates will give you a complete fee estimate before commencing work on your file.

What is the role of an estate lawyer during estate administration and probate?

It is not a legal requirement to work with an estate lawyer during the process of estate administration and probate. However, working with an estate lawyer will greatly simplify the estate administration process for you while carrying out your loved one’s wishes. If you have questions about wills, estate planning or probate, McMurter & Associates is happy to help!


This article is intended as an informative piece about the subject. It should not be taken as legal advice. We recommend you connect with an estate lawyer about your specific legal issue.

McMurter & Associates in Whitby has been providing estate planning services throughout Durham Region for more than 30 years. We have the experience needed to provide you with expert advice for any of your estate planning needs.

To meet with a member of our firm, send us an email [email protected] or call us directly at 905-666-9200.