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Navigator Law LLP can help you navigate through the probate process. Being a Personal Representative (executor) or Administrator of an estate can be a stressful and time-consuming job at a very difficult time in your life. Let us give you peace of mind by providing you with legal advice on probate in Alberta and guiding you through the intricacies of probate law and estate administration.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process where the court recognizes the authority of a Personal Representative in a Will to deal with the assets of the estate. When there is no Will, an application for Administration is required. In either case, a grant for Probate or Administration assures certain third parties such as financial institutions of the validity of your Will or appointment and your authority to distribute the estate assets.

Estate assets may include certain bank accounts, investments, or real estate. Whether a grant will be required or not depends on the type of estate assets. For example, a bank will often require a grant when an account balance is over a certain amount. A grant is always required if the deceased was the only person registered as owner on a Land Title.

Probate Issues

Sometimes, legal issues can occur when applying for a grant of probate. If a Will is incorrectly drafted, it can be declared invalid by the court. In that case, the family or loved ones will have to go through a different administration process to start settling the estate. The Will can also be disputed or conflicts can arise among beneficiaries.

If Probate issues occur, or the estate is complicated, the probate process is delayed and any assets such as bank accounts, real estate, investments, and life insurance cannot be accessed. Having an experienced estate lawyer by your side is a cost-effective way to prevent legal complications.

The Role of the Personal Representative

A Personal Representative is responsible for estate administration, as set out by the Will. If a Will has been drafted, the Will includes who is the Personal Representative (Executor). It can be a friend, family member, a loved one, a trust company, or someone else the deceased has entrusted to manage the estate according to his or her Will.

The Personal Representative is also responsible for settling any debt in the estate, filing tax returns, and making sure any assets in the estate are distributed to the beneficiaries.

Estate law allows for a Personal Representative to hire a lawyer, trust company, accountant and financial advisers to help advise on the probate and the estate administration process.

The Probate Process

The process for an application for a grant of Probate or Administration is quite similar.

  • 1. Document Preparation. In preparation for probate application, the requisite number of forms are prepared for the court and then served on all interested parties.
  • 2. Apply for probate. After service, the probate application is filed to the Court of Queen’s Bench. The court currently takes approximately 4 weeks to process and issue the grant.
  • 3. Estate Administration. After a grant of Probate or Administration has been issued, the Personal Representative can start the remainder of the estate administration.

How Can a Lawyer Help?

Probating an estate can be a long, time-consuming, and stressful process. With thorough estate planning and professional legal advice from estate lawyers on Wills and estates, estate administration and Probate can be simplified. However, the deceased has not always completed this planning, which can add to the time commitment and complexity of the Personal Representative/Administrator role.

Dealing with all the practical matters of estate administration can be difficult when grieving the loss of a loved one. The Personal Representative must carry out many complex duties and can be held liable for any losses to beneficiaries if the estate is not distributed correctly. It is a good idea to seek legal advice from a probate lawyer or law firm that can take on some of the workload and help you prevent legal issues such as estate litigation.

From Wills and estates to family law and tax law, Navigator Law has the necessary expertise to give Personal Representatives or Administrators support with legal advice and probate services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for administering an estate?

The Personal Representative named in the deceased’s Will is responsible for administering the estate. If there is no Will, Alberta legislation sets out who can apply to become an administrator for the estate.

Do I need to Probate an estate in Alberta?

Not always. Depending on the type of assets in the estate, probate might not be required. If the estate includes bank accounts exceeding a certain balance, banks usually require probate. Also, if there is property in the estate without a joint tenant on the title, Probate is required to sell the property.

How long does probate take?

Probating an estate usually takes 1-2 months at a minimum. With complicated estates that have many beneficiaries, the probate process can take a year or longer.

How much does Probate cost?

In Alberta, there are no probate fees or estate taxes. The maximum court filing cost is currently $525.00. If the deceased is an Alberta resident or their property is in Alberta, the only other costs associated with probate are legal and other professional fees.

Get a Free Consultation

Are you a potential Executor or Administrator? You may qualify for a free consultation to discuss the intricacies of an application. As probate lawyers in Calgary, we can provide you with clarification of whether Probate is beneficial or necessary in your particular case.

At Navigator Law, LLP, we do not charge a percentage of the estate as fees; however, a retainer is required after we estimate the complexity of the application. The retainer is based on the lawyer’s hourly rate, as we feel a time-based fee is the fairest way to reflect the value of the legal services provided.