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How To Go Through Probate With a Will In Alberta

In Alberta, the grant of probate is a certification from the court that states a will meet the requirements set out in the Wills and Successions Act

Aged couple consulting with probate agent

If you've recently lost a loved one and have been named their executor, you probably have a lot of questions about their estate and how to navigate the probate process. We're here to help you understand more about probate and how you can effectively settle an estate.

What Role Does a Will Play in Probate?

A will is usually validated in an Alberta probate court. Wills typically name an estate executor, who is responsible for ensuring that the terms of the will are honored and the beneficiaries revive their inheritance. In Alberta, the grant of probate is a certification from the court that states a will meet the requirements set out in the Wills and Successions Act and that it is officially the last will and testament of the deceased.

Once the grant of probate is given, the executor can deal with the property of the deceased as per the terms of the will. Without a will, the probate court will appoint one of several grants similar to the grant of probate to distribute the deceased's assets according to requirements set forth by the province of Alberta. This is why having a will is so important: If you die “intestate,” ie. without a will, there’s no guarantee that your assets will be distributed in the way you envisioned it.

What Are the Rules of Probate in Alberta?

If you're the executor of the will, there are a few things that you'll need to know. First, you need to find and review the will. Probate court typically wants the original one, but they may accept a copy if it meets certain conditions.

The will may not be valid. In Alberta, a will isn't valid unless:

  • It is in writing and made by someone at least 18 years old
  • It must have been signed by the deceased; or by someone legally able to sing on behalf of the deceased
  • At least two people must have witnessed the signing of the will in the presence of the deceased. However, witnesses can't be beneficiaries.
  • If the will is altered, it must be properly signed and witnessed

Do I Need Other Documents Besides a Will For Probate?

The probate court doesn't just ask for a will. There are several other documents that they may need, such as:

  • Any relevant agreements about marital property
  • Any family and adult partner-related orders, settlements, and agreements
  • Land titles, either wholly-owned or partially owned, and any lease or tenancy agreements, if there are any
  • Powers of attorney documents
  • Vehicle registration
  • Life insurance policies
  • Trust agreements
  • Any relevant business documents, including shareholder agreements, employment contracts, and partnerships

Depending on the financial circumstances of the deceased and any business interests they have, the probate court may ask for other documents.

Applying for the Grant of Probate in Alberta

Once the court has all the necessary documents, then the probate forms need to be completed. There are a few different applications for probate. If there is a valid will, then the will's executor applies for a grant of probate. If there is no will, then an application for a grant of administration needs to be completed.

If you're confused about the estate settlement process, or you think you need help processing a loved one's will, we can help. At Clear Estate, we have plenty of experience with wills and going through probate. Give us a call today, or visit us online to see how our professional services and expertise can help you.

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