When an individual passes away their will typically names an executor, or administrator, who is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will. This important legal task carries a great deal of responsibility, and the executor is personally liable for any mistakes made in the estate administration process. One of the ways the executor can ensure the veracity of the will is to go through the probate process.
In this week’s blog, we’ll be taking a deep dive into probate, and how it works in BC law.
What is Probate?
Probate is the process through which the will is verified as real under BC law. It proves to the court that the will is legally valid, and that it discloses all of the assets in the estate. For example, if an individual is an executor of the estate of a family member with a large cash sum in a bank, that bank may require proof the will is legitimate in the eyes of the law before releasing the funds.
How does the Probate Process Work?
In order to probate a will, the executor first applies to the court for a Grant of Probate. This grant is basically a certificate issued by the court that states the will is valid. To receive the grant, the executor must submit several documents to the court for review. These documents include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- An affidavit (statement of facts) regarding the deceased, the executor and the probate application;
- An affidavit listing the amount and location of the deceased’s assets and liabilities; and
- An affidavit that the beneficiaries of the estate are aware of the probate application
Once these steps have been completed, a notice is issued to the beneficiaries making them aware of the probate application and what their rights are at this juncture. The court will take time to review and approve the probate application, before notifying the executor what probate fees need to be paid from the deceased’s estate.
Upon completion, a Grant of Probate is issued and the executor can administer the estate.
How long does the Probate process take in BC?
A Grant of Probate is issued by the Supreme Court of BC, and their timelines can vary – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Start by finding the nearest BC Supreme Court to your location in the province. Typically, an application for Grant of Probate will take six to eight weeks to complete, assuming no defects are found within the application.
Get Help with the Probate Process
Are you interested in finding out more about the Probate process? The expert team at Westside Family Law is standing by to help! Our family law experts can navigate you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist.