"What does my lawyer mean we will owe $15,625 in probate fees?" asked Jack. "Can we do anything about it?" Fortunately, we found we could, while reviewing a "what if" estate tax calculation. We explained that probate fees are charged by the province when an executor submits a will to be certified as valid. The fee is $250 on the first $50,000 of your estate and 1.5% on any balance — debts cannot be deducted from your assets for purposes of this calculation.
Reviewing the table below, we explained that if Jack and his wife Anne held their investments jointly and named beneficiaries on their RRSP assets, they could avoid probate fees. They wondered about holding assets jointly with their children for this purpose. "Be careful," we cautioned because this often creates other troubles with family and the Tax Man — all for the sake of a few thousand dollars in probate fees.
*line of credit not deducted
These are typical client scenarios.