Wills, Estates & Probate

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What’s a Probate Estate All About?

Did someone in your family pass away and leave you in charge as the executor? Did you come across a home for sale that said the Sellers need a subject to probate for months? Here are the basics of what this all means.

When someone passes away, the executor named in the Will is now in charge of everything. It’s a tedious process and time consuming. So, what happens? When can I list the house?

Executors Duties

Technically, you can list the home straight away, but title cannot be transferred until the Will is probated. This means the executor needs to do the following:

1. Obtain a copy of the current Will.
2. Search Vital Statistics Agency to ensure it is the most recent Will.
3. Provide notice of the application for probate to all the beneficiaries and anyone entitled to make a claim under the Wills Variation Act, which means to all beneficiaries plus spouses and children, if any are excluded from the Will.
4. Identify all assets, value of assets and any debts.
5. Apply to the Supreme Court of BC.

Probate Process

The probate office will require payment of a probate fee prior to issuing the Grant of Letters Probate. The fee is approximately 1.4% of the total value of assets passing under the Will.

Once probate is granted the executor must sell all the assets, distribute the estate and file taxes.

Obtaining probate in Vancouver is approximately 4-6 months, but the rest of the process can take an additional 12 to 18 months depending on the number of assets, their location and number of beneficiaries. And it is important to keep the beneficiaries up to date as they may not understand the work that needs to be done prior to disbursement of the bequests. It’s generally easier to hire a lawyer to do the leg work for you, just to avoid any potentially costly mistakes or delays.

If the home is listed prior to probate being complete, the executor (Seller) must have a subject to probate being finalized to protect themselves/the estate. For the buyer, it could mean months before they could take possession.

If probate is completed, the executor has the power to list the home and sell it without any delays.

Have any questions about an estate sale? We are here to help. Give us a call at 604-782-2083 or e-mail us at [email protected]

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