Put simply, probate is the process of proving the originality and validity of a Will. It is often a required step in the estate administration process when the deceased has assets in BC. It involves a court application whereby the court will review the Will and supporting materials to confirm that the Will satisfies all of the formal requirements at law in BC. In addition to submitting a court application, Probate fees must be remitted to the Provincial Government before a Grant of Probate will be issued by the Court.
Probate is a key step in the estate administration process. The appointed Executor in the Will has a duty to secure all of the Deceased’s assets, which may include bank accounts, investments accounts, real estate, personal property, etc.. Most financial institutions, investment brokerages and government agencies will not give effect to a transfer of property from the Deceased to the Executor until the Executor can provide them with a Grant of Probate.
The requirements of a valid will in BC are strict, and failure to meet those requirements may render a will invalid. In such a circumstance, obtaining a Grant of Probate could be more difficult.
A few important notes about Wills and Probate:
- A will may be contested on a number of grounds, including formal invalidity, undue influence, incapacity, or otherwise under the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act;
- Estates may be carried out without a Grant of Probate if all assets are either held jointly with another person or have designated beneficiaries. If you plan to set up your estate in this manner, we strongly recommend speaking to a lawyer first, as it may have significant consequences to your estate plan;
- If there is no Will, an interested person must usually apply to the court for Letters of Administration in order to be appointed as the official administrator of the deceased’s estate. Banks, Investment Brokerages and Government Agencies will generally require Letters of Administration before they will release the deceased’s assets.
Family members responsible to carry out the estate administration process have a difficult enough time facing the loss of a loved one. Let us help make the probate process as easy as possible. Please contact us for more information about probate in British Columbia.