What is Probate?

Probate is something that you get from a court called the “Surrogate Court of Alberta”.  The purpose of probate is to get a will verified or “approved” by a Judge.  Once it is so approved, then the Judge will sign “Letters of Probate” and your application has been a success.  You will now find it much easier to deal with financial institutions, the Alberta Land Titles Office and many other official agencies regarding estate matters.

Do I Have To Get Probate?

Obtaining probate is something that must be done in some situations, but which can be avoided in others.

If there is a house or other real estate as a part of the estate, you will have to obtain probate.  This is a requirement of the Alberta Land Titles Office.  Recall that if the land is in joint title (say between husband and wife) then it might pass directly to the survivor and not form part of the estate and so in that situation probate would probably not be necessary.  Talk to a lawyer.

If there is cash in a bank or shares or other financial instruments or money being held in a bank, then each bank has it’s own rules about probate but if the amount is less than around $20,000 then the bank might release the funds without a full probate, depending on the circumstances.  Talk to a lawyer.

How Long Does It Take To Get Probate?

An application for probate involves a large amount of paperwork.  An inventory of the whole estate has to be included, plus there are affidavits and releases that must be included, plus certain people have to be served notice of the application and it can be quite involved.  Having said this, the process usually only takes a few weeks, if it does properly from the outset.

Can I Be Paid Executors Fees?

Probate laws and rules allow for the payment of executors’ fees in many situations and in various amounts.  Talk to the lawyers at this firm for good, experienced advice.