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Why Your Bank Is Not Releasing Estate Assets: Understanding Probate's Role

Lady with brown hair and glasses in an orange t-shirt overwhelmed by reading various documents.

A probated Will is a legally verified document that has been examined by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and deemed valid, formally recognizing the executor's authority to execute the instructions outlined in the Will. Financial institutions typically require probate before releasing a deceased individual's assets, even though it's not mandatory in most cases. This is because probate provides the institution with assurance that it is transferring the assets to the person who has the legal right to receive them. Without probate, the institution lacks certainty that the Will they possess is the most recent and valid version. However, with probate, the institution is protected from liability even if the Will is contested, deemed invalid, or superseded by a later Will, as long as they have released assets to the executor named in the probate.

Certain organizations might be willing to assume a financial risk and release assets without needing probate, provided the value of the deceased's assets is relatively low. The level of risk tolerance determines this decision. In such cases, the institution may request the executor to provide a Bond of Indemnity.

When handling the distribution of a deceased person's assets, obtaining probate can significantly simplify the process for executors, as it minimizes the likelihood of encountering opposition or challenges to their authority to manage and distribute the estate's assets.

Toronto (Scarborough) & Bowmanville Probate Lawyer

Whether you reside in Toronto (Scarborough), Bowmanville or elsewhere in Ontario, feel free to call our probate lawyer at 416 953 0040 or email our estate boutique at and schedule an appointment today.

PLEASE NOTE: It's important to note that laws and regulations are subject to change, and the information provided in the article may not reflect the most up-to-date legal requirements. Therefore, before making any decisions or taking any action, it's essential to consult with a legal professional to ensure that you have the most current and accurate information.

The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional legal advice. If you have specific questions or concerns about your situation, it's always best to consult with our highly competent estate lawyer who can provide personalized guidance.


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