Estate Trustees Can Breathe Easier This Year

Estate Trustees can breathe a little bit easier starting January 1, 2020Recent changes announced that the Province of Ontario’s budget which is effective January 1, 2020 will have significant changes that will benefit the Estate Trustees. 

Tax Elimination

It is proposed that the Estate Administration Tax of 0.5% will be eliminated on the first $50,000 in the deceased person’s estate. This sounds good and amounts to a savings of $250. 

If the estate has more than $50,000, the Estate Administration Tax will remain at the current rate of 1.5%. For example, if the Estate is valued at 1 million dollars, the Estate Administration Tax payable to the Ontario Ministry of Finance will be $15,000. 

Days to File has Increased

Perhaps the most significant change is that the Estate Information Return now must be filed within 180 days of receiving the Certificate of Appointment as an Estate Trustee with a Will. This has increased from the current 90 days. 

This gives the Estate Trustee an additional 3 months to compile the information needed in the Estate Information Return. This return is a snapshot of what the deceased person owned, minus what they owed on the date of their death. 

There are two ways to file the Estate Information Return. Either online as a fillable PDF, or the form can be printed out and then mailed in. Please find the PDF’s here.

The Estate Information Return is 7 pages and the details of the Estate Assests including:  

  • Real Estate in Ontario 
  • Bank Accounts 
  • Investments 
  • Vehicles and Vessels 
  • Other Assets 

These five areas of assets are totaled to report and pay the Estate Administration Tax on the Total Value of the Estate Assets. 

Until next time, 


Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. Not only is she a Certified Professional Consultant on Ageing and an Executive Advisor, but she is compassionately understanding.  To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.   

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What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service Part 2

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

In part 1 of this blog I mentioned that a funeral service means that the body of the deceased is present at the service.  Now I will go over the details of a memorial service and the primary difference between a funeral service and a memorial service.

A memorial service means that the body of the deceased is not present at the celebration of life.  The deceased may have been buried or cremated prior to the memorial service.  Or in other more tragic circumstances, the body of the deceased may not be available to hold a funeral service and the family elects to have a memorial service instead.

Visiting is very common with a memorial service.  Visiting could be a day or two before or a few hours prior to the memorial service on the same day.  Visiting is not obligatory, yet many families value this time to have the support of their family and friends.

A family could hold a memorial service in addition to or in place of a funeral service.  For instance, the family may elect to hold a funeral service in the town where the deceased lived and died. Then hold a memorial service at a later date in the town where the person was born.

Whether you prefer a funeral or a memorial service, the important piece is to think through how you would like your life to be celebrated.

Take a quiet moment and ponder what this looks like for you.  Then take massive action.  Set up your plans and prefund them at the funeral home of your choice.  Finally, let your family know you have done this, especially your Estate Trustee.  Do not include your funeral or memorial services in your will, as the will is typically read after the celebration of life.

One family comes to mind that experienced this unfortunate issue.  When their father died they had no idea how he wanted his life celebrated.  They discussed this and elected to have him cremated and then held a memorial service.  Later when they read his will, they found out he had wanted to be buried – oops!  Unfortunately cremation is irreversible and this family had to live with their decision.

Don’t put your family is this position.  Take charge of your celebration of life and set it up the way you want now.

If you are unsure where/how to start, then I invite you to connect with me.  I work with my clients to make this process easier and to avoid any headaches during an already emotional time after the deceased has passed.  To help start the discussion, I offer a free consultation to see the available options and how to get started preplanning.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!


Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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Why and How People Become Funeral Directors in Ontario

License Funeral Director OntarioThis month is the celebration of 100 years of Funeral Professionals. To the dedicated men and women who feel a sense of calling to become a funeral director, we salute you.  Have you ever wondered why and how people become Funeral Directors here in Ontario?

Often the students in the Funeral Services Program at Humber College or College Boreal express a sense of duty to learn how to assist families through the funeral process at one of the most painful and emotional times of their lives.

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Is a Funeral Home Needed When you Opt for Cremation?

Cremation and funeral homeI only want cremation so I don’t need a funeral home, right?

No, actually that is incorrect.  Many people think that if they simply want their body to be cremated when they die, there is no need to involve a funeral home.  This is not correct.  The closest next of kin, legal representative or Estate Trustee needs to call a Funeral Home.

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Sending Cremated Remains to Poland

Polish flagLast week I worked with two adult daughters who want to send their mother’s cremated remains back to Poland.

There are two scenarios to consider. One is when taking the cremated remains personally and the second is if the cremated remains are going to be shipped to Poland.

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The Many Decisions Regarding Cremation

bigstock-For-The-One-We-Miss-5071148Many people think that deciding that they want to be cremated is the only decision they need to make.  Well that is likely the first decision. Cremation is a choice of disposition of the body just like earth burial or entombment in a crypt.  But, there are many other decisions that go with deciding this type of disposition.  Would you prefer donations in lieu of flowers and to what charity would you prefer money be sent?  Do you want a newspaper notice, with or without a photo?  What you would like your family to do with the cremated remains?

Perhaps you would prefer a Memorial Service or a Celebration of your Life.  In this scenario, the events of a Direct Disposition take place and then a few days later the family holds a service to celebrate your life at a venue of their choice.  Will there be a eulogy? If so who will do this?  Will there be visiting and a serve before or after cremation? This could be at the funeral home, a place of worship, or a place of significance to your during your lifetime such as the Golf and Country Club. Read more

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Should You Renew or Cash in Your GIC?

bigstock-Green-Wheel-Barrel-Full-Of-Dol-5607013A GIC is a funding vehicle used to earn money on the principle invested with a guaranteed rate of return for a set period of time and many people appreciate the safety of investing their money in Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC). Now, if you invested your money into a GIC say five years ago, you may have been earning a 7% rate of return on your principle.  This looks wonderful compared to the current guaranteed interest rate of 1.5% to 2.0 % or so. Is now a good time to renew or cash in your GIC?

Although the principal amount invested is guaranteed, the interest earned on a GIC is taxable as income.  If the investor has a marginal tax rate of 22% then the real return on the GIC is lower than the original 7% guaranteed over the term of the GIC.  The realized rate of return is just under 5.5%.  And in the current GIC market the guaranteed rate of return is much lower than 7% and is hovering around 1.5 to 2.0%

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