Latest Blog Articles

July 25, 2016

Joanne Hwang explains the different types of powers of attorney and why it is important to have them on the Focus Mandarin program of OMNI Television, with host Wei Lee.


July 23, 2016 - The Estate Information Return

The following information applies to persons applying for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee (with or without a will) in Ontario after January 1, 2015.

Upon receipt of the certificate of appointment of estate trustee (with or without a will), the estate trustee must submit an Estate Information Return. The return must be received by the Ministry of Finance within 90 calendar days of the issuance of the certificate of appointment. When applying for a certificate of appointment, applicants are required to provide their best estimates of the value of the relevant estates. Sometimes, however, the actual value of the estate may turn out to be higher than the estimated value upon which the Estate Administration Tax was initially paid. The Estate Information Return requires the estate trustee to provide detailed information as to the assets of the estate and to pay additional Estate Administration Tax if the initial amount paid was insufficient. The estate trustee may also seek a refund if he overpaid as a result of an over-estimation of the value of the estate. The Ontario Ministry of Finance website (www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/eat) offers a fillable Estate Information Return Form and a detailed Guide to the completion of the Estate Information Return.



July 23, 2016 - Calculation of the Estate Administration Tax (formerly known as Probate Fees)

One of the first orders of business for the applicant of a certificate of appointment of estate trustee (with or without a will) is to determine what assets should be included in the estate for the purposes of calculating the Estate Administration Tax. The applicant is strongly advised to consult with an estates practitioner to ensure that all of the relevant assets, and no more, are included in the calculation.

The following assets are NOT included in the Estate for the purposes of calculating the Estate Administration Tax:

  1. Real estate outside of Ontario;
  2. Jointly held assets that pass by right of survivorship – For example, joint bank accounts and real estate held with another person as joint tenants;
  3. Registered investments with designated beneficiaries that are NOT the estate – For example, a RRSP designating the deceased’s spouse or children as beneficiaries;
  4. Insurance policies with designated beneficiaries that are NOT the estate – For example, a life insurance on the deceased’s life designating the deceased’s spouse or children as beneficiaries; and
  5. Assets held in trust for the benefit of persons other than the deceased.

The following assets are included in the Estate for the purposes of calculating the Estate Administration Tax:

  1. Assets held in the deceased’s name alone, such as automobiles, stocks, bank accounts, investment accounts, collectibles, personal effects
  2. Real estate held as tenants-in-common with others – For example, if a deceased owned 1/3 of a property with two other individuals, then 1/3 of the value of the real estate (net of encumbrances) must be included.

Only encumbrances against a deceased’s real estate can be deducted from the net value of the estate for the purposes of calculating the Estate Administration Tax. Credit card debts, RRSP loans, outstanding bills, and promissory notes that are not secured against the deceased’s real property cannot be deducted.

Readers may be interested in going through the Law Society of Upper Canada's sample problem for the calculation of the Estate Administration Tax.



July 11, 2016

Joanne Hwang discusses the importance of making a will on the Focus Mandarin program of OMNI Television with host, Wei Lee