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  • How long does it take to prepare and file a probate application?
  • How long does it take from filing a probate application until grant of probate?
  • How long from grant of probate until distribution of funds by the estate trustee?

How long does it take to prepare and file a probate application?

For an experienced firm, preparing the documentation for a probate application does not take a particularly long time. Once all of the facts are properly collected, it is a matter of hours to prepare and finalize all of the necessary documentation.

Clearly, collecting the facts properly requires diligence and can take time.

More commonly, what can take a long time is getting original signed consents and/or renunciations to include with the probate application, especially where there is no will, from all beneficiaries. Each individual needs to be located and sent documentation, and then each individual must sign (often before a notary or lawyer) and return the original signed documents. This can take time, and therefore, especially in intestate situations it is important to be well organized, to start preparing and sending the documentation as soon as possible, to communicate very clearly, and to follow up regularly with all beneficiaries.

How long does it take from filing a probate application until grant of probate?

The delay between filing the application and grant of probate varies greatly from Court registry to Court registry.

First, it is very important to file the full, accurate application the first time – errors or omissions will seriously delay approval of the application.

Second, the pace of processing of applications varies greatly from registry to registry. In our experience, in most rural and small cities, the time from application to grant is a matter of a few weeks (and sometimes only days), whereas in Toronto and some large centers the delay can be many months (5 months is not uncommon in Toronto currently).

How long from grant of probate until distribution of funds by the estate trustee?

The entire process takes time. It is very rare for an estate trustee to complete the administration and distribute funds to beneficiaries in less than several months, and a year or more is very common. In fact, as a general rule, the expectation is that the trustee will take approximately one year from the date of death before distributing funds to beneficiaries.

Of course there is great variation in the complexity of estates and the time it takes to administer. Each step of the process, from preparing and filing the application for appointment of estate trustee, through collecting the assets, filing tax returns, to distributing some or all of the assets takes time, and the amount of time varies widely.

As a general rule, it is a duty of trustees to administer and distribute the estate as quickly as practicable, and thus they must not fail to act or act too slowly.

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