Losing a loved one can be devastating and being tasked with the responsibility of handling their estate can become overwhelming. At Jiwa Law Corporation, our estate lawyers work with executors and families to help ensure the process runs smoothly. If you are an executor or intend to be appointed as an administrator, we can walk you through each step of the estate administration process.
As an executor to an estate, you are responsible for carrying out the instructions of a will. This can include a variety of tasks. The Government of British Columbia suggests the basic duties of an executor include:
- Completing an inventory and valuation of all assets and debts;
- Gathering names and addresses of all beneficiaries and next-of-kin;
- Cancelling subscriptions and charge cards, redirecting mail and wrapping up other personal matters;
- Taking control of all assets, including the transfer of ownership registrations and the collection of any debts;
- Paying all valid or proven debts left to the estate;
- Filing tax returns for the deceased and for the estate;
- Selling assets as necessary and distributing the estate; and
- Preparing and obtaining approval from the beneficiaries, heirs-at-law or the court for accounts showing assets, receipts, disbursements, and distribution of the estate.
In addition to this, you may be required to apply to the BC Supreme Court to have a will probated. Probate is the process that verifies a will is valid according to the laws of British Columbia. Our estate lawyers can walk you through the probate process and assist with filing the court application and all of the supporting documents. This includes preparing and filing documents such as a certificate of will notice search; a detailed inventory and valuation of all assets and debts; the plan for distribution; and all affidavits required by the Court for the probate process. Our lawyers can also provide you with timely legal advice to ensure the process proceeds smoothly and without delay.
The responsibilities of an executor can be complex and stressful. At Jiwa Law Corporation, our estate lawyers can ease the burden. We offer straightforward advice; are highly experienced in the probate process; can assist you while dealing with financial institutions, creditors, or other third parties; and will look out for your best interests if any unforeseen complications arise.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Getting a will probated can have significant benefits, depending on your circumstances. A grant of probate offers assurance that a will is valid, and that no other wills have been executed after. Often, financial institutions require a grant of probate before they are willing to release any funds to beneficiaries.
Additionally, a grant of probate can protect an executor or administrator from any future claims from individuals who wish to dispute the will. A grant of probate sets a limitation period for anyone wishing to dispute the will, so that claims are not made after the estate has already been distributed. If a will is not probated, an executor might also be personally liable if it is discovered that a later will directed that the estate be managed differently.
The timeline for the probate process can vary significantly, depending on the circumstances. It may take a few months after filing an application to obtain a grant of probate. However, there are various circumstances that will affect the timeline.
For example, if an estate is large or complex, or there are numerous beneficiaries, it may take more time to obtain a proper account of the estate and prepare an application. If someone died intestate, it may take some time to determine who should be the administrator of the estate. If there are any disputes regarding the will or how the estate is being managed, that may also lead to further court proceedings before or after probate is granted.
Additionally, it may take two years or more before an estate can be distributed to beneficiaries, as executors or administrators work with the CRA and/or creditors while administering the estate.
When a person passes, leaving a will, then an application for a Grant of Probate will be made. If a person passes without leaving a will (intestate) then a grant of administration is applied for. The process for each application is generally similar but obtaining a grant of administration may require additional steps and the process can be frustrating.