Estate Administration in BC
Estate administration in BC involves gathering all of the assets of the estate, paying out all of the liabilities and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries of the estate. Estate administration is undertaken by either the person named executor in the will, or alternatively a person who has been appointed by the court to administer the estate.
What is Probate?
A will is a legal document that lets the court know what to do with a person’s estate after they die. Often a will needs to go through probate – a process that ensures a will is real and was left by the deceased and the executor named in the will has the authority to deal with the estate of the deceased person. Not all estates need to go through probate, estates that do not include land or large bank or investment accounts often may be administered without the need to obtain a Grant of Probate. When the assets of estate have a value of less than $25,000 probate fees are waived. When the assets of the estate exceed $25,000, probate fees amount to approximately 1.4 percent of the value of the assets.
To obtain a grant of probate, an application to the court is made by filing a requisition and evidence in support of the applications including:
- A certificate of wills notice search,
- An affidavit of the executor attaching the original will and codicils to the will along with any memoranda that are referred to in the will,
- A detailed statement of the deceased’s assets and liabilities,
- The plan for distribution contained in the will,
- An affidavit advising the court of the persons who inherit under the will, those would have inherited had there not been a will and those entitled to claim against the will under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, and;
- An affidavit confirming that those who inherit, would have inherited had there not been a will and those entitled to claim against the will have been served with the notice of probate application.
In some circumstances other affidavits may also be needed – and it may also be necessary to inform the British Columbia Public Guardian and Trustee of the application for probate.
In addition to a grant of probate, a person may also need to apply for “Letters of Administration” from the court.
What happens to estate administration in BC if there is no will or the executor declines to administer the estate?
If the executor named in the will declines to administer it, the court must appoint someone to act as administrator of the estate. Similarly, if a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate”, and the court must appoint someone to act as administrator of the estate. The appointment as an administrator over the estate by the court is known as a grant of letters of administration. Letters of administration provide a person with official recognition of their role with respect to the estate and will enable them to perform their obligations to recover money owing to the estate or to transfer assets in accordance with their obligations as administrator of the estate. The basic fee paid to the government for commencing the application for the grant of administration is $200, and is waived if the entire value of the estate does not exceed $25,000, in addition there are administration fees paid to the government that vary according to the value of the estate.
How can a lawyer help with estate administration in BC?
Getting legal advice on how to prepare an estate for administration or to administer an estate can save time and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Legal fees associated with estate administration are based on the time a lawyer spends to advise a client or administrate the estate on behalf of the client and can be claimed from the estate as an expense. Legal fees are in addition to the fees paid to the government for probate or letters of administration. Our lawyers have the knowledge, expertise and experience to prepare an estate for administration and can complete all the steps to ensure the estate is fully handled and can advise on the legalities involved. We are here to help you with your BC estate administration and can be reached at 250-888-0002 or via email.