Oct 21, 2021
Who to Notify First After a Death
We’re here to help you navigate the days and months to come and take as much off your plate as possible.
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.
We regularly share relevant information about wills and estates.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 estate||Fee|
|$10,000 or under||$ 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.
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.