What Is Probate?

The legal process of Probate is how the legal system checks to see that a Will really is your final Will, that it is not a forgery, and that all of your final business is completed according to law, including payment of taxes, payment of creditors, and payment of the people named in your Will according to what you wrote in your Will.


“Administration” is a similar process which the courts use when someone dies without a Will. It can take longer and cost more, and distribution of your net estate will be governed by rigid government rules. But it works and in the end it will distribute a deceased person's Estate.


Many people fear Probate and try to avoid it by transferring their assets to their children or other people. But Probate isn't a bad process. It protects your assets from other people who are not entitled to them.


Some people also tell you that Probate is very expensive and that "the government takes everything in Estate taxes." This is false. Estate taxes were abolished in B.C. in 1976. There are no Estate taxes in B.C. Anyone applying for Probate in B.C. must pay Probate Fees to the court, but those fees are set at 1.4% of the total value of your Estate.


That is cheap, but some people ask, why bother paying that price? Answer: it is the price somebody else (your heirs) pays so that you can retain full enjoyment and control over all of your assets until the end of your life.


We always urge people to keep their property, not give it away, but also to make a Will that disposes of it after they die. Your property belongs to you as long as you are alive; you don't have any obligation to give it to anyone else until after you are gone. So keep it.


But do make a valid Will.


In B.C., the law requires that Grants of Probate and Administration can only be made by one of the numerous local registries of the B.C. Supreme Court. Most Grants of Probate and Administration are made by “Desk Order,” i.e. without having to go to a trial or any court appearance.


Applications for Probate or Administration are careful, detailed documents that list all assets and liabilities of the Estate, and they must be supported by sworn documents called Affidavits, which are written according to the Court's rules and forms.

Probate example

Grant of Letters Probate

Click here to view Grant of Letters Probate.

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