My loved one has passed away: how do I find out if they had a Will?
If your loved one has passed away and it is not clear to you whether or not they had a Will, the process of trying to locate the Will can be daunting but there are various places that you can search.
This includes the deceased’s home or office. You can also inquire with their financial institutions as well as the deceased’s advisors, including financial advisors, accountants and lawyers for example.
If you suspect that a particular lawyer may have prepared a Will but the lawyer is no longer practicing, you can reach out to the Law Society of Ontario to find out if they have the Will or have a record of where the lawyer’s files may be stored. If the deceased did not have a relationship with a particular lawyer, you can try calling law offices in the area where the deceased resided to find out if they may have acted on the preparation of a Will for the deceased.
You can also try contacting your local courthouse to find out if the deceased may have deposited the original Will with the Court. Another option is to search the Canada Will Registry in the event that the deceased created a record in the Registry to document where their original Will is stored. There is a fee for the search and is can be done at https://canadawillregistry.org/consumer-will-search or noticeconnect.com. You can also have a lawyer conduct a search using Will Check at willcheck.ca.
Another option is to place an ad in the Ontario Reports, which is typically sent out by email to all lawyers in the Province of Ontario on a weekly basis.
If the estate of the deceased must be probated and you plan to apply to the court for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will (also referred to as an “estate executor” or “estate administrator”), you will be required to declare in the Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee that you have “carefully” searched for a Will and were not able to locate it, so you have a legal obligation to try to locate a Will if one does indeed exist.
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Werhun Law is a law firm located in Etobicoke serving the Greater Toronto Area. Werhun Law provides services primarily in residential and commercial real estate, mortgages, commercial leasing, and wills and estates. If you have any questions or are in need of legal services you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this post is for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and does not create a solicitor-client relationship.