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The complete guide to probate fees in BC

Set by the probate fee act of British Columbia, probate fees range from 0.06 to 1.4% of the estate's value - in this post, we break down the probate fee structure in BC.

Probate fees BC

The probate fees in BC are set by the Probate Fee Act and are payable by the estate. The amount of the fee is based on the value of the estate, which can include a filing fee of $200, and a minimum fee of 0.06% and 1.4% of the estate's value as of the date of death - let’s break it down:

Probate Fees in British Columbia:

  • No fee ($0) applied to the first $25,000 of the estate.
  • 0.06% of the estate’s value is worth more than $25,000 but does not surpass $50,000
  • 1.4% of the estate’s value is worth above $50,000
  • $200 court filing fee for estates worth over $25,000
Value of Estate% of estate subject to probate fees
$25,000 - $50,0000.6%

How to calculate the value of the estate:

The value of the estate is comprised of the following:

  • real estate and tangible personal property that is located in British Columbia

  • intangible personal property that is located anywhere in the world, if the deceased was ordinarily resident in British Columbia.

If the deceased was not ordinarily resident in British Columbia, then only intangible personal property located in British Columbia is included in the value of the estate.

Let’s do some examples of calculating the probate fee:

An estate worth $850,000:

- $0 on the first $25,000

- $200 court filing fee

- 0.06% on the next $25,000 not exceeding $50,000:

0.006 x $25,000 = $150

1.4% on the remainder of the estate:

0.014 x $800,000 = $11,200

Total probate fees for an estate worth $850,000 is $11,550

The probate fee may be waived by the court in certain circumstances, such as if the estate is subject to a tax lien or if the Executor files an affidavit of indigency. If you have questions about probate fees, you should contact an estate professional.

Are there any other fees to pay?

The court charges several fees to process the estate. The estate administrator should be mindful that aside from the court probate fees, there are also more costs to probate - which include:

  • a $200 basic application fee for estates with a gross value of over $25,000,
  • $40 per each court certified copy of the grant of probate, statement of assets and liabilities, and
  • 5% of the estate’s gross value executor fee.
  • Other professional fees associated with probate, such as the executor's legal fees or accountant's fees.

However, these fees can vary depending on the complexity of the estate. Therefore, it is important to consult with a professional to determine what other fees may be applicable.

How do I pay probate fees in BC?

In British Columbia, the Supreme Court of British Columbia collects the probate fee before issuing a grant of probate to executors and administrators. It is the same process whether there is a will or not.

The purpose of the probate fee is to cover the costs of administering the estate, such as court fees, admin fees, and other expenses. The amount of the fee depends on the value of the estate, but can easily cost thousands of dollars without proper planning.

3 Strategies to Reduce or Avoid Probate Fees

Since the probate fee is based on the value of the estate, it can be quite expensive for larger estates. Fortunately, there are a few ways to reduce probate fees in BC.

  1. One way to reduce probate fees is to use a Nominated Beneficiary designation. This designation allows you to name a specific beneficiary for your RRSPs, RRIFs, and life insurance policies. When you make this designation, your named beneficiary will receive these assets directly, without having to go through probate. This can save your beneficiaries both time and money.
  2. Another way to reduce probate fees is to hold assets in joint tenancy with another person. When assets are held in joint tenancy, they automatically pass to the surviving owner when one owner dies. This means that these assets do not have to go through probate, which can save on fees.
  3. Finally, you can also use a trust to hold assets such as your home or investments. When you hold assets in a trust, they do not form part of your estate when you die. As a result, they are not subject to probate fees. Trusts can be an excellent way to protect your assets and reduce your beneficiaries' expenses.

If you are concerned about the cost of probate fees, there are several options available to help reduce these costs. By using a Nominated Beneficiary designation, holding assets in joint tenancy, or using a trust, you can minimize the impact of probate fees on your estate and your beneficiaries.

If you'd like to see more in-depth ways to avoid probate, read our blog post here

To wrap things up:

- When it comes to the cost of probate, British Columbia has a set fee structure: For assets under $25k there's no charge at all; anything between that and 50K is 0.6% of the estate's value. Anything above $50,000 is charged 1.4% of the estates value.

- There is also a $200 application fee, and other court admin fees.

- Executor's fee is 5% of the estate's value

- You can avoid paying probate fees; by gifting, holding eligible assets in joint tenancy, or planning ahead and utilizing trusts, beneficiary designations, etc.

We can help you complete probate.

Although the probate fee structure in BC is complex, our team can help you complete probate without any trouble. Contact us today for a free consultation and we would be happy to answer any questions you have about the process.

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