I recently received a call from a lady that is handling her father’s estate. She is the Trustee and along with everything else, was responsible for selling his home. On his death she went to her lawyer, filed the appropriate paperwork, paid the Estate Administration Tax (EAT, previously probate) and request for Certificate of Appointment. When the house was sold she went back to the same lawyer to finalize the sale and the lawyer asked her if she had filed the Estate Information Return as the 90 days was almost up? 90 day deadline – who’s aware of this? Certainly not the lady who contacted me!
Her lawyer actually recommended she speak with me to see if I could help her. From meeting with a number of lawyers and attending a recent tax course there is the recurring comment that the Law Society of Ontario has told lawyers that they are not responsible for reminding clients of their 90 day deadline coming due. I have no information as to whether lawyers are informing their clients that there is even a 90 day deadline.
The problem the Trustee ran into was due to the change in the value of the Estate. When she completed the Estate Information Return there were some discrepancies from the original EAT filed. And on further investigation she found out she needed to supply a notarized affidavit indicating in detail what caused the variance from what she had originally paid and what she owed now. In her case some amounts were increased i.e. value of the house, and others decreased, value of automobile and boat. The Ministry would not accept the additional payment without the notarized affidavit.
Because of the penalties in not filing on time, and not filing accurately the 90 day deadline can cause extreme stress and potential errors in an already stressful time. There have been a number of articles written concerning the 90 day deadline.
When dealing with an Estate and the complications and deadlines that can arise, always seek the guidance of a professional. A common expression to explain the dilemma you could find yourself in is – You don’t know, what you don’t know! I am here to help.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Share your experiences with my readers.
Until next time,