Yesterday the Law Commission of Ontario released its Consultation Paper in its Simplified Procedures for Small Estates project (a project I with other members of the bar have been involved with). The Simplified Procedures for Small Estates project is looking at whether a simplified process for the administration (i.e. probate) of smaller estates makes sense. The project is aimed at finding a solution for the administration of small estates (i.e. $50,000.00 or maybe $100,000.00, the definition of a small estate is not yet settled) where the legal authority to act is required but the cost of obtaining that legal authority (probate) is prohibitive.
The 76 page consultation paper (available here) looks at the current process in Ontario as well as the difficulties associated with it and after reviewing what other jurisdictions have done to address these problems and the issues for consideration (including what value qualifies an estate as “small”) provides some possible options for reform including a court assisted or facilitated probate process, a simplified probate process, administration by statutory declaration, an election by the PGT to administer, informal administration or maintenance of the status quo.
The LCO is seeking feedback from the public, including estate representatives, beneficiaries, creditors, financial institutions, policy makers, estate lawyers and, generally, anyone who is involved in Ontario’s probate system. The consultation process ends December 11, 2014. You may sign up on the LCO website for updates on the various LCO projects as well and provide your feedback on the consultation paper. I encourage everyone’s participation.