Today’s blog is being brought to you by guest blogger, Jennifer Campbell, a law clerk in the Private Client Services group of Fasken LLP.
The Ontario government has tabled a new Bill that would see a change to various Acts and would look to simplify court matters. Bill 161 – Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019 is set to become a reality if it can pass through the legislature when it returns in the New Year.
Of importance for those who administer estates is Schedule 9 of the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019 which, among other things, looks to amend the Estates Act with respect to small estates, being one that does not exceed a specific amount as set out in the regulations made under the Estates Act. The proposed amendments provide for the following:
- section 36 of the Estates Act will be amended to remove the requirement for a bond in small estates, except in certain specified circumstances;
- removing the requirement that a certificate from the Estate Registrar for Ontario confirming the “all clear”, must be received by the issuing court before probate or administration can be issued. Rather, the issuing court will be required to confirm the matters currently required to be confirmed by the Estate Registrar for Ontario before probate or administration is granted. This should expedite the granting of probate or administration for small estates; and
- repealing all provisions that provide for the filing of caveats against a grant of probate or administration in a small estate.
If Bill 161 is passed, it will come into effect within 6 months of the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019 receiving Royal Accent.
Certainly with the changes to the Estates Administration Tax Act set to come into effect on January 1, 2020 and the new changes proposed in Schedule 9 of the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019, this should allow for a quicker process for obtaining probate or administration in smaller estates.
Until next time, wishing you and yours a safe and happy holiday season and all the best in 2020.