The probate process in BC is a difficult and emotional time for most families, often coinciding with a period of grief. Attending to the administrative requirements of estate management is hardly a priority in the wake of a family member’s passing. However, if you are the executor named in their Will, it’s important – within a reasonable amount of time that you take steps to secure the assets of the estate, and administer them in accordance with the will. Most of the time, this will require you to obtain a grant of probate.
The process of probate can be complex. Each case presents its own unique set of circumstances and challenges. So, we have compiled a comprehensive guide addressing frequently asked questions to assist British Columbia residents in understanding and successfully navigating the probate landscape.
What is Probate in BC?
Probate in BC is a formal legal process that involves submitting a deceased person’s will to the court. It’s the court’s way of officially recognizing the validity of the will and the executor’s role, who is responsible for administering the estate according to the will’s terms. Think of it as a judicial thumbs-up, allowing institutions who hold the deceased’s assets to transfer them to the executor with confidence.
Note, if the deceased died without a will and you’d like to administer their estate, there’s a similar but different process available to you.
How Long Does Probate Take in BC?
Starting the probate process in BC can happen immediately after death, as long as the executor has the information the lawyer helping with probate will need. There are a number of steps you must go through before the application can be filed. However, once it’s with the probate registry, the timeframe to process it can vary. Review often takes between 8-12 weeks, Start to finish. We can often obtain a grant of probate for our clients within 4 to 5 months of our initial meeting,
What Assets are Not Subject to Probate?
Whether or not probate is required depends on the nature of the assets the deceased person died with, as well as the potential for wills variation claimants. If a person died and at the time of their death all of their assets were held jointly with someone else or had beneficiaries named, probate likely isn’t required. It’s still best to get legal advice to determine if probate is required.
What Happens After Probate is Granted?
Once probate is granted in BC, institutions will have the legal comfort they need to transfer the deceased’s assets to the executor. Once the executor is in receipt of the assets, some of the real work starts. For example, if real property is involved, the executor now has the authority to complete the sale. If there are bank accounts, the executor can close them.
How to Avoid Probate in BC?
The motivation for avoiding probate in BC is driven by the desire to avoid payment of probate fees, which are pegged at 1.4% of the estate’s value. But be wary—DIY plans, put in place without professional advice could lead to unintended outcomes, including taxes, penalties and fines. This is especially true given recent changes to BC laws. It’s a tricky game where playing it smart with legal guidance is the best move.
Do It Yourself Probate in British Columbia, Is It Possible?
While possible, self-administered probate in BC is uncommon and can be more expensive in the long run. Many executors find themselves needing legal help after initial attempts at having their application rejected by the probate registry. Often incurring higher costs than if a professional had been involved from the start. When we represent executors, legal fees for assisting with the probate application are rendered to the executor and the executor has the right to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses they incur.
Can a Notary Probate a Will in BC?
In BC, notaries do not have the authority to probate wills. This legal service is only provided by legal professionals who are equipped to handle the complexities of estate administration.
Do You Still Need Probate if There is a Will?
Yes, having a will does not negate the need for probate in BC. Probate serves to authenticate the will and officially vests the executor with the authority to manage and distribute the estate according to the will’s directives.
How to Find Out if I Was in a Will?
If you are a beneficiary named in a Will or would inherit under our intestacy laws in BC, you’ll be notified that the probate application is being made . As part of this process, you’ll receive a copy of the will, which will show what the deceased left for you, if anything
Probate Lawyer Surrey BC
At BKS Law, we understand that navigating the probate landscape comes at a time when you could be reeling from a loss. It’s about more than legalities; it’s about feeling supported and understood. Our team is here to offer that steady hand through the storm, ensuring the legacy of your loved ones is honored with care and respect.
But our support doesn’t end there. We also offer a full spectrum of estate planning services. Whether it’s drafting wills, setting up trusts, or planning for future generations, we’re here to help chart the course for a secure tomorrow, offering peace of mind for all your estate planning needs. Lean on us—today, tomorrow, and beyond.