Experienced Probate Lawyers Serving Vernon, Salmon Arm, and throughout Southern B.C.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is an extremely trying time under any circumstances and can become even more so when a person is named as the executor of the deceased’s estate. The person (or persons) charged with managing and distributing the estate is often under a great deal of emotional distress, and as such the responsibilities of an executor can feel especially overwhelming. Administering an estate is a multi-faceted undertaking comprised of many steps and legal requirements, and no two estates are exactly the same. Having a skilled and trusted estate administration lawyer guide you through the process and complete many of the administrative functions is one of the wisest decisions an executor can make, especially when probate is required.
What is Probate?
Probate is the first major step in the estate administration process, as it grants authority to the estate’s executor(s) to access and secure all of the estate’s assets. This is a formal legal process requiring the executor(s) to obtain a document called a Grant of Probate from the court that validates the deceased’s Will and allows the executor to secure and distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with its contents. In cases where the deceased died without a Will (otherwise known as dying ‘intestate’), or the named executor is unwilling or unable to act in the role, the court can approve the appointment of an executor via a Grant of Administration, which has the same effect as probate in that it allows the executor access to the various estate assets.
Taking the Work of Applying for Probate off of Executors’ Hands
At Cherkowski Marsden LLP our estate administration lawyers have decades of experience guiding executors through the probate process. The process is often very detailed and time-consuming, and our ultimate goal is to ensure everything is handled with the utmost care and efficiency. We want executors to leave our office confident the probate process is underway and that they have been relieved of much of the legwork involved in preparing the application.
Our skilled probate lawyers prepare and file all the necessary components of an application for a Grant of Probate with the court. We also take on the task of preparing all documentation and notices for creditors and beneficiaries of the estate, while the application is in progress, so that the next steps in the administration of the estate will be ready to go once the Grant of Probate is received. Our vast experience gives us an unparalleled understanding of what is needed from a legal standpoint under any circumstances so that we can anticipate any challenges or irregularities from the start.
What Does the Court Require in Order to Issue a Grant of Probate?
For nearly all estates where the deceased died with a valid Will, a Grant of Probate will be required to allow the executors to properly secure and distribute the assets of the estate, including real estate holdings and financial accounts. To obtain a Grant of Probate, the following must be provided to the court in support of the application:
- A certificate of Wills notice search;
- An affidavit from the executor(s) along with the original Will and any codicils;
- A detailed statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities;
- The plan for asset distribution under the Will;
- An affidavit advising the court of the names and addresses of all beneficiaries to the Will and anyone who may be entitled to a claim under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act; and
- An affidavit confirming that those who inherit and those entitled to claim against the Will have been served with a notice of the probate application.
What are the fees for probate?
Some estates may not be required to pay probate fees, depending on the total value of the estate to be distributed. Fees are waived for any estate valued at less than $25,000 and are not charged on the first $25,000 of an estate valued higher. When the assets are valued at more than $25,000, fees are calculated as such:
- For the first $25,000-$50,000 in value, $6 for each $1,000 (or part of $1,000); and
- For any value over $50,000, $14 for each $1,000 (or part of $1,000).
For example, if an estate has a total value of $500,000, the calculation would be as follows:
The first $24,999 = $0
The value from $25,000 – $49,999 ($6 x 25) = $150
The value from $50,000 – $500,000 ($14 x 450) = $6,300
Total probate fee = $6,450
What if the Deceased Died Without a Will?
When a person dies without a Will, a Grant of Probate is not required, because there is no Will to validate. However, any person seeking to distribute the assets of the estate must still obtain documentation from a court in order to gain access to the assets for distribution purposes. In such cases, a person looking to be named executor of the estate must apply to the court for a Grant of Administration, which will enable them to distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with succession legislation. This process comes with strict requirements, legal obligations, and a significant amount of paperwork, so hiring an experienced estate lawyer can drastically reduce the time spent putting together the necessary components of the application. Further, a lawyer will be able to provide guidance on how to properly distribute the assets in the absence of a Will once a Grant of Administration is obtained.
B.C. Estate Lawyers Guiding and Assisting Executors Through the Probate Process
If you have been named an executor in a Will or seek to be named as the executor for an estate and require advice on the probate process, contact the knowledgeable estate administration lawyers at Cherkowski Marsden LLP. We provide trusted legal advice and guidance throughout the process and take on many of the administrative responsibilities, including taking care of all documentation and interactions with the court, to remove the burden from your shoulders. We can be reached online or by phone at 250-308-0338 (Vernon office) or 250-803-9171 (Salmon Arm office).