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The total cost of probate in Alberta

You may wonder what steps you need to take to settle the estate, including what probate fees you need to pay.

Probate fees alberta

When tasked with the heavy responsibility of being an executor of the estate for your loved one, you must also be ready to go through what can be a lengthy and costly process.

It’s important to be made aware of how much probate might end up costing you.

In this blog post, we break down the most common probate fees you should be prepared to pay during the probate process. Let’s get into it.

Probate fees set by Alberta’s surrogate court

As stated by the Surrogate courts Judicature Act Surrogate Rules Part 5 Schedule 2, Alberta probate fees in are determined by the net value of the estate and are as follows:

Net value of property in the estateProbate Fee
$10,000 or under$35
$10,000 - $25,000$135
$25,000 - $125,000$275
$125,000 - $250,000$400
$250,000 +$525

Fun fact:

Alberta has one the lowest surrogate court fees in the country - with Ontario and BC having the highest at close to 1.5% of the Gross value of the estate, and 1.4% respectively.

How to pay the probate fee

The probate fee is paid for by the estate and is usually paid for when applying for the grant of probate - the process is still the same when the deceased died without a last will.

If the decedent died without a will, you will have to apply for a grant of administration and pay the probate fee upon filing for probate.

What assets are subject to probate?

When determining the amount of probate fees you will have to pay, you must inventory the estate assets to find the net value of the estate.

It is worth noting, that not every asset in the estate counts toward the estate value.

Here are the assets subject to probate in Alberta:

Real property: This includes homes, land, or other types of real estate that are owned solely by the deceased.

Personal property: This can include things like furniture, automobiles, jewelry, and other personal belongings. In some cases, probate may be required in order to sell or distribute these items.

Financial assets: This can include things like bank accounts with no listed beneficiaries, stocks and bonds, and life insurance policies - in most cases, financial institutions require a listed beneficiary upon registering an investment account like an RRSP, or bank account.

Business interests: This can include sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations. Probate may be required in order to transfer ownership of these businesses to the beneficiaries.

In most cases, any assets owned solely by the deceased will most likely require probate and should be included when determining the estate’s net value.

Alberta's Executor fees

Although there is no legal statue for executor’s compensation, there is a guideline laid out by the surrogate court of Alberta and they can be broken down into groups as follows:

Compensation for total estate value

The net value of the deceased assets as of the date of death.

  • On the first $250,000.00 of capital: 3% – 5%
  • On the next $250,000.00 of capital: 2% – 4%
  • 500,000k+ capital: 0.5% – 3%

Compensation for total asset revenue

Cash flow or assets that the estate accrues with the executor or trustee administering the estate.

  • Revenue receipts - 4-6%

Estate management

Assets that are being managed by the administrator, trustee, or executor during the distribution period.

  • On the first $250,000.00 of capital: 0.3% – 0.6%
  • On the next $250,000.00 of capital: 0.2% – 0.5%
  • On the balance: 0.1% – 0.4%

What is the role of an executor?

An executor of a will is also called a personal representative and carries out the deceased person's wishes. Individuals usually appoint executors as part of the estate planning process and name them in their will.

The executor or personal representative handles funeral arrangements, settles debts, and distributes property. In order to have their authority legally validated, an executor will often have to seek a grant of probate or administration, where the court validates the will and the executor's authority to handle the estate.

If the court validates the will, the executor can move forward with property distribution and handling other estate matters. When a deceased person has not chosen an executor, the court will appoint one. The executor must pay probate fees to get the process started.

Attorney fees

Just like the executor fee, probate lawyer fees do not have a set statue - but they are given a guideline by the law society of Alberta and are as follows:

  • Estates up to $150,000: $2,250 plus one-half a percent (1/2%) of the value of the estate (plus disbursements and reimbursements of any costs incurred)
  • Estates over $150,000: $2,250 plus 1% of the value of the estate (plus disbursements and reimbursements of any costs incurred)

Administrative fees

As stated by the Alberta surrogate court, these are the most common administrative fees executors will be faced with:

Administration activity

Fee

Documents that require the opening of a court file respecting an estate$250
Issuing a grant of double probate, supplemental grant, or grant of administration of unadministered property$250
Application for trusteeship$250
Application (in the course of an action or proceeding respecting an estate or trusteeship)$50

while not outlined - court filing fees, and court-certified copies are other administrative costs you may incur.

As you can see - Probate can end up costing thousands - if not 10's of thousands of dollars to settle an estate.

Estate settlement requires; Probate fees, legal fees, accounting fees, executor fees, admin fees, on top of a whole lot of other variables such as extended probate hearings, contended wills that can prolong the probate process - costing the estate thousands more dollars.

See you can either go to a probate lawyer and they just do probate for you and end up charing 5% of the estate's value.

Or you can use Clearestate, where we cover you for the entire estate settlement process at a simple flat fee.

Contact us today for a free consultation with an estate professional specialized in Alberta probate law.

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