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Frequently Asked Probate Questions


What is probate?

Probate or obtaining a Grant of Probate or Administration is a court process of proving the originality and validity of a Will before the Supreme Court of BC. A Grant of Probate is used to authorize a representative to act on behalf of and administer the estate.

How much are probate fees in BC?
In BC, probate fees are based on a calculation equal to roughly 1.4% of the gross value of the estate that passes through the hands of the Executor. A filing fee of $200 is also payable for each court application.

Who can apply for probate?
The applicant must either be appointed through the Will or if there is no Will, the applicant will be the next of kin with majority consent of other beneficiaries or effected parties. If the appointed executor of the Will renounces, the alternate can apply or the next of kin with consent will need to apply.

Can I file for probate on my own?
Yes, you can obtain documents online and file them with the probate registry. You will need the affidavits witnessed by a commissioner, lawyer or notary public. Generally speaking, we will not give legal advice on these documents if they are not prepared by our office. The forms are tedious and confusing and the registry is meticulous about how they are completed. Rejections from the registry can result in a delay and further effort to obtain supporting material.

What are some of the initial steps for an executor when someone passes away?
We usually advise clients to take care of family first, arrange the funeral services and secure the assets, when necessary. We will then meet with the Executor to discuss the next steps in detail.

At what point should I be meeting with Bell Alliance?
We generally see clients once the funeral service has occurred and the Executor is ready to proceed with administering the estate. We require the death certificate in order to proceed.

How long does probate take?
It depends on the complexities of an estate, such as number of beneficiaries or interested parties, location of assets and the wait times at the registry. We generally see probate applications taking anywhere from 4 months to 12 months to process. The estate administration in total can take up to 2 years.

Who has a right to see a copy of the Will?
Beneficiaries named in the Will, all intestate successors (people who would have been entitled as beneficiaries if there was no will), executors named, and sometimes Public Guardian and Trustee, if minors or disabled beneficiaries are involved.

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