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  • Writer's pictureErin Watson, J.D.

Understanding the Three-Year Vesting Period in Ontario's Estate Administration Act

Today, we're diving into a lesser-known aspect of estate law in Ontario: the three-year vesting period outlined in the Estates Administration Act (EAA). Buckle up for a crash course in what this provision means for you and your loved ones.

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So, what exactly is this "automatic vesting" provision in section 9 of the EAA? Simply put, it states that if real property isn't distributed among the beneficiaries within three years after the death of the deceased, it automatically vests in those beneficiaries. Sounds straightforward, right? Well, not quite.

Enter section 10 of the EAA, which throws a curveball by asserting that nothing in section 9 trumps the rights of executors, administrators with the Will annexed, or trustees under a Will. Translation: the wishes of the testator, as expressed in their Will, always reign supreme over section 9. In other words, if the Will specifies otherwise, it overrides the automatic vesting provision.

Now, let's talk specifics. If the Will includes a power of sale and a power to postpone conversion, and the real property is part of the general residue, section 9 won't apply. But if the property is specifically gifted, it all comes down to the Will's terms and the testator's intentions. Confused yet? Don't worry, you're not alone.

Here's where things get interesting. While section 9 lays out the rules for automatic vesting, there's a catch: if the terms of the Will contradict the Estate Administration Act, you might need to go to court to obtain a Vesting Order. This order, essentially a legal stamp of approval, ensures that the distribution of assets is fair and just according to the circumstances. Once you've got that order in hand, it's time to make it official by registering it on the property's title.

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Phew! That was a lot to digest, wasn't it? But fear not. If you're feeling overwhelmed or have questions about how the three-year vesting period affects your estate plan, our E is for Estate team is here to help. Whether you're drafting a Will, navigating probate, or pondering the intricacies of estate law, we've got your back. CONTACT US HERE

So, until next time, keep those estate plans in check and remember: knowledge is power when it comes to protecting your assets and loved ones.

Erin Watson, J.D.

E is for Estates



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