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In British Columbia, settling an estate involves a cost known as a probate fee. This fee is managed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Before the executors and administrators (people in charge of handling the estate) can do their job, they need to pay this fee. This rule applies whether or not the deceased left a will.
The probate fee is an additional cost, separate from any other fees connected with starting a proceeding to obtain or reseal a grant, or filing documents within that proceeding. This fee needs to be paid to the government before the issuance of any grant or before any resealing.
It is the responsibility of the personal representative (the executor or administrator) of the deceased's estate to pay this fee. However, the representative pays this fee in their role as the estate's manager, not from their personal funds.
The probate fee is calculated based on the "gross value" of the estate. In simple terms, the gross value is the total value of all the assets (things of value like a house, car, money in bank accounts, etc.) that belonged to the deceased. Importantly, it doesn't include any debts or money owed by the deceased.
Set in place by British Columbia's PROBATE FEE ACT [SBC 1999] CHAPTER 4 - The probate fee is calculated based on the "gross value" of the estate. In simple terms, the gross value is the total value of all the assets (things of value like a house, car, money in bank accounts, etc.) that belonged to the deceased. Importantly, it doesn't include any debts or money owed by the deceased.
If the estate's value is more than $25,000, the probate fee is calculated as follows:
There are specific situations where no probate fee is required:
If, after the grant or resealing has been issued, the representative learns about an asset that wasn't previously reported or finds out that an asset was undervalued, they have a responsibility to report this to the court. The representative must then pay the government the difference in the probate fee that would have been due if the asset had been accurately disclosed or valued in the original Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Distribution.
Navigating the complexities of probate fees and the estate settlement process in British Columbia can be daunting. The insights and knowledge of a seasoned expert are invaluable.
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