What is probate and why do you need it?


A probate order is basically a seal of approval. In Ontario, it is received through an application to the court, and confirms that the will is valid and can be relied on. In order to receive a probate order, the executor or applicant must pay a tax equivalent to approximately 1.5% of the value of the estate. There is no law in Ontario requiring that an executor obtain a probate order; the reason most estates are probated is for the benefit of third parties, which often require a probate order in order to release assets. Most banks, for example, will not allow investment accounts (or large bank accounts) to be released to an executor without proof that the will being used is in fact the final will and is valid. A probate order, in a nutshell, is a way to keep fraudulent wills from being used.