When do I need to probate an estate?

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The term “probate” is a scary term in estate planning and administration.

What is Probate?

Probate is when a will is submitted to the courts, along with information about the deceased individual, their beneficiaries and their estate. A justice (which is what a Queen’s Bench judge is called) reviews the will and confirms it meets the requirements to be an actual will.  At the end of this process a Grant of Probate is issued by the justice.  This certificate allows the executor to begin collecting the assets of the estate.

Probate does not confirm that this is the last will of the deceased or prevent someone from bringing a claim against the estate.  If someone contests a will, the probate process stops and a law suit begins.

Probate is a type of ‘desk application.’.  This means your lawyer does not have to appear in front of a judge. They just send in paperwork for the judge to review privately.

When do I need probate?

Banks, the Land Titles Office and many securities registries rely on the Grant of Probate to confirm they can release the deceased assets to the executor named in the grant.  Essentially, if these parties release an asset to the executor and a different will is found later, they cannot be sued by the beneficiaries.

This means that it one of these three groups that asks an executor to probate the will.  Different groups have different cut off levels for when they require probate.

For example:

  • Anytime land enters the deceases estate, probate is required to for the Personal Representative to deal with that land,
  • Banks typically require probate when the value of the combined account of deceased are above a certain value, often $50,000-$100,000, and
  • Credit Unions have to have a grant of probate to release accounts over $30,000.

If you are an executor in a will and have been told you need to probate a will, our lawyers can help.  Book an appointment today.

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