What is Probate?
Probate is the process of making an application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia to rule that the deceased’s will is valid. Typically, a will outlines the deceased’s wishes on how he/she would like their Estate distributed when they die. A will may include the deceased’s funeral wishes that they wish the Executor to follow (i.e. many times people wish to have their remains cremated or do not wish to have a funeral service).
Typically, when an Executor applies for probate, the Estate will be liable for probate fees on the fair market value of the Deceased’s assets at the time of their death. The current rate for probate fees $14 for every $1,000 in assets.
When is Probate Not Required?
Many times, depending on the assets of the Estate, probate may not be required. There are certain assets which are exempt from such an application:
• Assets in Joint Tenancy – this will include bank accounts and any land holdings held by the deceased and another joint tenancy. Under the law of survivorship the deceased’s interest in a “jointly held” property, will go to the surviving joint tenancy. Typically, presentation of a death certificate at a bank or at the Land Titles Office will be sufficient for such a transfer.
• Life Insurance Police and Registered Retirement Savings Plans – these assets do not have be to be included in a probate application given that they already have a named beneficiary and will be transferring to the beneficiary that the Deceased has designated prior to his/her death.
• Small Estates with a value of less than $50,000 – many times, if the Deceased only has bank accounts, which have a value less than $50,000, financial institutions may not require a Grant of Probate to transfer the bank accounts to the beneficiaries under a Deceased’s Will.
Conor Zokol is a solicitor practicing in our Business Law Practice Area. He assists clients with the preparation of Wills and other Estate Planning Issues.
Contact Conor Zokol of DuMoulin Boskovich LLP for your legal needs.