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When is probate required in Alberta?

Probate is integral to many parts of the estate settlement process in Canada and is an official way of validating a will.

Senior old man elderly examining probate

If your loved one has recently passed, you likely have many questions about the estate settlement process and what to do with the will. You’ll likely have to go through probate, and for those of us going through that for the first time, the process may seem daunting and confusing. We're here to help answer your questions about the probate process in Alberta.

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What is Probate?

Probate is integral to many parts of the estate settlement process in Canada and is an official way of validating a will. The probate court also verifies the identity of the personal representative named as the executor of the will.

The Surrogate Court of Alberta certifies that the submitted will is the last will and testament of the deceased and provides the executor with the authority to conduct the estate settlement safely. However, probate is not always required, but when an estate is larger and includes more assets, including real estate and investment portfolios, then many families choose to go through probate.

What is a Grant of Probate?

A grant of probate is required for the executor to prove that the will is valid and that he or she has the legal right to disperse assets. Banks often require it in some situations, and it tends to be necessary for land titles.

When Do Banks Require Probate?

A bank has the discretion to waive the need for any probate grants, but if the account is solely in the deceased owner's name and contains more than $25,000, they will typically require a grant of probate. The bank looks to protect its own interests by making sure that the executor is legally authorized to deal with the property. If the accounts at the bank are jointly held or have named an official beneficiary, then the chances are higher of a bank not requiring a grant of probate.

When Will Land Titles Require Probate?

If a piece of property is in sole ownership, then in order to change its title, either the grant of probate or the grant of administration under the seal of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta must be included with the application. This is required no matter the value of the property – provided that the property is solely owned

How Long Does Probate in Alberta Take?

It takes about one to three months for an estate to obtain a grant of probate in Alberta. An estate partner like ClearEstate can help to draft the application, notify the beneficiaries of the will, and then just submit the Application to the court. This can also significantly help speed up the process. Once the probate court has accepted the application, then the entire process of settling the estate through the probate court can take anywhere up to a year.

We also ensure that there are no mistakes on the application, which can delay its processing. Did you know there are more than 40 different reasons that Alberta courts can return the application? The court highly scrutinizes probate applications, and if they're returned, then the whole process starts all over again.

How Much Are Probate and Legal Fees?

The probate fees are contingent on the net value of the estate. Here’s a breakdown of fees in Alberta:

Net value of property in the estateFee
$10,000 or under$ 35
over $10,000 but not more than $25,000$ 135
over $25,000 but not more than $125,000$ 275
over $125,000 but not more than $250,000$ 400
over $250,000$ 525

Legal fees can vary by law firms and depend on many different factors. The Law Society in Alberta suggests a schedule of $2,500, plus 1% of the value of the estate. However, depending on how straightforward or complex the situation is and the executor's involvement in the process, the fees can change.

Do You Need Probate Assistance?

At ClearEstate, we can work with you through every step of the process. Give us a call today or visit us online to see how we can help you navigate probate.

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