Estate Notice to Creditors – Online vs Newspaper

Estate Trustees often need to advertise a notice to creditors, as just one of their many estate administration tasks. Beyond the purpose of helping to discover unknown creditors of the deceased, advertising a proper notice to creditors will also provide an estate trustee personal liability protection from a creditor who comes forward after all the estate funds have been distributed to the beneficiaries. This protection is outlined at section 53 of the Trustees Act.

Recently, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed that a notice to creditors properly published online met the requirements of an appropriate notice under the Trustees Act; therefore, entitling an estate trustee the sought-after personal liability protection. 

I almost exclusively advertise all my estate notices to creditors online. Here is why:

  1. Effectiveness – The Court’s confirmation that a properly published online notice meets the requirements of the Trustees Act established its threshold effectiveness, but I would argue that an online notice can be even more effective than a notice printed in a newspaper. This day in age it is unquestionable that online information is more accessible, and more far-reaching than that of newsprint. An online notice can be found at any time by completing a simple search of the internet, and is not restricted by location. Alternatively, a notice printed in the local newspaper will be easily missed if you are not checking on the specific days the notice is printed, or checking in the specific local newspaper. Further, a notice in a local newspaper only informs its local readers, not those who may reside out of town.
  2. Efficiency –  An online notice can be published in a matter of hours, whereas publishing a notice in a newspaper will take a matter of days. Further, I have found working with service providers online to be more efficient then working with their newsprint counterparts. Efficiency is key if you have asked a lawyer to help you publish a proper notice, because more efficiency equals lower legal fees.
  3. Economical – Depending on which service provider you use and what features you need, the fee for an online notice could range between $150 to $200. In Ottawa, the same notice printed in the cheapest newspaper on the cheapest day of the week for three consecutive weeks will cost in the range of $400 to $500. This is even greater value if you consider that an online notice is more accessible, more far-reaching, takes less time publish and is easier to prepare.

If you have any questions about any of the above, or about preparing a proper notice to creditors please do not hesitate to contact me.

Zach Gaulin