What Is Probate? We Thought You’d Never Ask…

February 21, 2019

Probate can be a confusing topic for many to understand — and a sensitive one to bring up. Here, we shed some light on what the legal process is and how it works.

Probate, Defined

To put it simply, probate is an official process that establishes the validity of a will and confirms the appointed executor for the estate. An executor is the person named in a will to be in charge of settling your affairs.

It’s important to note that, even if you don’t have a will, someone will have to apply to the court to be appointed as the administrator of the estate before he or she can act on your behalf. This can be messy and complicated, so lawyers always recommend drawing up a will as early as possible.

What Should I Know About Probate?

First, the process is not the same from one province to the next. If you’re an executor, this means that it’s wise to contact an estate lawyer before taking any action to ensure that you’re following the proper procedure.

Another thing to note is that an executor will often have a difficult time administering an estate without probate. Many institutions, particularly financial ones and the Land Title Office, will require extensive legal proof that the will is valid and that the executor is who he or she claims to be before allowing the executor to deal with the estate’s assets. This is why having a lawyer draft your will saves a lot of time and legal headache in the long run.

It might not be common knowledge, but when applying for probate in B.C., there are probate fees payable to the government based on the gross value of the estate as at the date of death. Therefore, it is a good idea to speak with a wills and estates lawyer to find out what assets would be subject to this fee and if there are any ways to reduce the amount payable.

How Long Does the Process Take?

Unfortunately, there is no exact timeline with respect to probate. It depends on many factors, including the probate registry’s workload, the complexity of the will and the estate’s assets and liabilities. In many cases, there is a minimum turnaround of six months, but it may be longer.

What if I Have More Questions?

If you have been appointed as an executor, the job of managing a loved one’s final affairs can be burdensome so it’s important to remember that it’s alright to ask for professional help in administering the estate. If you have further questions or need more information, let our Burnaby lawyers and our New Westminster lawyers at LMN Law Group help guide you through these complex legal waters.

LMN Law Group is one of Burnaby’s top law firms. If you’re looking for a Wills andEstates lawyer in Burnaby our legal professionalsare here to serve you.

The information contained here should not be construed as legal advice. We strongly recommend that readers contact a lawyer to obtain legal guidance specific to their unique situations.