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How do you achieve a grant of probate in Alberta?

If the deceased left behind a will, then a grant of probate is the necessary legal document that should be obtained from the probate court

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When someone dies and leaves behind a will, there is a legal process that must be followed to verify the validity of the document and proceed with executing the instructions contained within the will. This process is known as probate.

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What Is a Grant of Probate?

If the deceased left behind a will, then a grant of probate is the necessary legal document that should be obtained from the probate court in the province or territory where the deceased passed. This grant gives authority to the named executor or administrator to handle the estate settlement process. The executor will then be responsible for gathering all necessary information, notifying relevant parties, paying outstanding debts with the funds in the estate, and then distributing any assets that remain in accordance with the wishes expressed in the will.

Why Is It Important?

The probate process is sometimes necessary to validate the legality of a will and the authority of the executor. Oftentimes, banks and other financial institutions will require a grant of probate as proof that the executor really has the authority to carry out their responsibilities.

Once an application is submitted to the probate court, the will will be reviewed to determine that it is legitimate and that no one’s contesting it. Issues can arise when the capacity of the deceased to write the will in question is challenged, or if there are any disinherited family members who believe that a previous version of the will should be recognized.

How Is It Achieved in Alberta?

Obtaining a grant of probate has several steps that must be undertaken:

  • The named executor must be willing and able to fulfill the role.
  • If more than one party is named executor, preference is given to the person who lives in or near Alberta.
  • The executor must apply by obtaining the Surrogate forms and filling them out completely.
  • If the executor requires assistance to complete the documents, help can be found with the Resolution and Court Administration Services, or by getting in touch with an expert partner like ClearEstate.
  • File the forms with the closest branch of the Court of Queen's Bench.
  • The court will review the document and make a determination of whether or not to give the person the authority to deal with the estate. This can take a few weeks to upwards of a year's time, depending on any complications.

Filing a grant of probate requires fees that range from $35 to $525, depending on the size of the estate. The executor of the will is only responsible for handling the assets that were not held in joint custody with a surviving party, or specifically named a beneficiary.

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