Sometimes we might feel that a single detail of our loved ones’ lives is of no importance when it comes to managing their estate, but every detail has its place.

Whether they died with or without a will, here’s a list of important information not to ignore:

1. Names: Include the full legal name of the deceased as it appears on their passport or driver’s license.

You should also provide any additional names that might be on their will, if there is one, or a death certificate if that information is different from their legal names.

For Example. Johnny Lee Williams is James Allan Williams, or Mikey is Michael.

Nicknames are great and hold sentimental value and endearment towards our loved ones, so keep that information close to your heart as it won’t be used in the application unless it’s listed in the will, codicil, or official documents.

This also applies to the legal names of the beneficiaries.

2. Marital Status: Previous Marriages, Divorces, Separations, and Common-Law Partners

Give us all the juicy details. Your lawyer will need to know their current marital status and if there are any additional statuses from the past.

For Example. Michelle divorced Mike in 2008 and is currently in a common-law relationship with Justin.

This allows us to provide the most accurate information on the application and lets us know if any additional documents need to be prepared and included in the application.

3. Children: If the deceased died with a will, the will would likely include the names of their children if they were listed as beneficiaries under the will, but in some instances, the will might say “To all my children”.

In the case where no children are specifically named in a will or there is no will, you should provide the following information: names of all the children, date of birth, address, and emails or phone numbers. If the child is a minor, then we would need the contact information for that child’s parent or guardian.

4. Beneficiary’s Relationship to the Deceased: Beneficiaries of an estate can include the deceased spouse, cousin, child, uncle, brother, sister, friend, or even their pastor. Along with knowing how the beneficiary is related to the deceased, we also need to know if any of the beneficiaries have passed away.

5. Joint Accounts: Not only does your lawyer need to know if the deceased owned any bank accounts, but also the institution where they’re held and the value of those accounts as of the date of death. Your lawyer also needs to know if any of those accounts are held jointly and the type of joint account.

Some accounts will fall into the value of the estate and affect the amount of estate administration tax payable. Others will fall outside of the estate and have no impact on the estate tax payable.

Even though a detail may seem minor or insignificant, it may still be an integral part of the estate. The more pieces we have, the easier it is to complete the puzzle.


Olesya Johnson


Nothing contained in this post constitutes legal advice or establishes a solicitor-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding your legal rights or legal obligations, you should consult a lawyer.