What is Probate?

When someone dies and leaves behind a Will, the person appointed as Executor will need to go through a legal process called probate before the Will can be relied upon to transfer assets into the name of the Executor who in turn can transfer the assets to the named beneficiary. 

If the Executor does not probate the Will, financial institutions and the Land Title Office will not be able to ensure that a Will is valid or challenged or revoked or superseded by a Will of a later date, meaning the Executor will not be able to have control of the deceased’s assets, whether such assets are real estate, bank accounts, or various investments excluding those with a named beneficiary such as an RRSP.

During probate, the Court will determine whether the appointed Executor is still willing or is able to serve this role. If the appointed Executor is no longer the best choice (for example, if they have lost capacity, are serving time in prison, or they do not want to take on the responsibility), then the Court will turn to the alternate Executor in the Will to carry out the Deceased’s wishes.

To officially have your Executor appointed as the administrator of your Estate, the Court will issue what’s called a “Grant of Probate”. Once your Executor is officially appointed and your Will has been accepted by the Court, the Land Title Office and Financial Institutions will be able to facilitate the transfer of the assets from the name of the Deceased to the name of the Executor who can then  distribute the Deceased’s assets in accordance with the terms of the Will.

If you or a loved one is in need of advice regarding Probate, Wills, and Estates or wish to have assistance in making a Will, consult Vancouver and Burnaby wills, estates, probate lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia at andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107.