Written by Vanessa Roberts
As an estate representative, you are responsible for a fair distribution of assets. In other words, if assets are not valued correctly, it could lead to legal challenges from beneficiaries in the future.
It is wise to have property with significant value (real estate and personal) professionally appraised to ensure it receives a credible and fair valuation. For example, these items could be a home, cabin, land, jewelry, antiques and collectibles. It could also include any property that may have significant value or is not easily valued through your research.
It is recommended to seek legal advice in completing land transfers to take advantage of potential savings and ensure the estate is protected.
Types of Property Ownership
Once the property or land is appraised, it is time for transfer or sale. Two typical ownership situations occur. The first is if a property is registered to the deceased as the sole owner or if two individuals own the property as 'tenants in common,' the property must be transferred to the estate representative. The estate representative will hold the land in trust and administer the estate as required.
The second type of ownership is 'joint tenancy,' where joint property ownership allows the surviving owner to gain full ownership of the land after their partner's death. In this case, the land is not part of the deceased's estate and a land transfer is likely not required. However, an application to remove the deceased's name from the title may be required.
Requirements to Transfer Ownership
Each province/territory in Canada completes land transactions through their own provider. As a result, it is recommended to seek legal advice in completing land transfers to take advantage of potential savings and ensure the estate is protected. To determine what is needed to transfer the property, contact your provincial/territorial provider.
For more information on each provincial/territorial land titles office, see below and click on the links provided:
- Saskatchewan – Land transactions are completed by Information Services Corporation (ISC) - Land Titles Office. A Transmission on Death application is required to complete the transfer.
- Ontario – Land is registered in the Land Registry System or the Land Titles System. Land transactions are completed in Teraview to register property in the Government of Ontario's land records database. A Transmission Application is used to indicate the estate representative can sell or transfer the property.
- Manitoba – Land is registered at the Land Titles Office. Where there is a title to land in the name of two or more people jointly (as joint tenants), you will need to file a survivorship request. This is done using the quest/transmission form.
- British Columbia – Land is registered by the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA) of British Columbia. Several forms are required from the land titles office. See the courtesy guide provided by the LTSA for more information.
- Quebec – Land is registered by the Quebec Online Land Register. The following guide can be used to find the forms that you are required to submit.
- Alberta – Land is registered by the Alberta Land Titles Office. There are various forms that you are required to submit.
- Newfoundland and Labrador – Land is registered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Registry of Deeds. Please contact the Registry of Deeds for additional information about what forms are required.
- Nova Scotia – Land is registered by the Nova Scotia Land Registry. Suppose your property has been converted to the land registration system. In that case, a form must be completed and recorded with your local Land Registration Office. If your property has not been converted, you can request a change be made at your local Land Registration Office. You will be asked to provide proof of name change, such as a marriage license, court order or death certificate.
- Prince Edward Island – Land is registered by the Registrar of Deeds at registry offices. Call your local registry to determine what documentation is required.
- New Brunswick – Land is registered by the New Brunswick Land Registry. Contact the land registry office to speak with a representative to determine your individual needs.
- Northwest Territories – Land is registered at the Land Titles Office. Contact the office to determine the required forms.
- Nunavut - Land is registered at the Land Titles Office. Contact the Legal Registries Division to determine what is required.
- Yukon – Land is registered at the Land Titles Office. If you have any questions, contact the office. Forms that may be required are here.
If the deceased owned foreign property, there is potential for challenges in the administration of the estate. It is advisable to seek professional legal and accounting advice in these situations.
For more information or help in this area, please contact Cadence.