Many people have heard of probate but aren\u2019t quite sure what it entails. The term \u2018probate\u2019 is often used in broad reference to what we call the Estate Administration process. Estate Administration is the process of distributing a deceased\u2019s assets upon death in accordance with their Will and Alberta Estate laws. Alberta Grants of Probate The Estate Administration process often requires the Executor, or Personal Representative, of the Estate to apply for what\u2019s called a Grant of Probate. If you\u2019d like to learn more about when probate is necessary, check out our detailed article on that topic here. A Grant of Probate is a legal document, issued by the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen\u2019s Bench of Alberta, which confirms the Executor\u2019s authority to distribute the deceased\u2019s Estate. It also confirms the validity and authenticity of the deceased\u2019s Last Will. Let\u2019s Assume\u2026 For the purpose of this article, we\u2019ll assume that you\u2019re an Estate Executor who requires a Grant of Probate, and that you intend to have a lawyer apply for the Grant on your behalf. The following summarizes the steps of the probate application process and provides an estimated timeline of events. So, What are the Steps for Probate in Alberta, and How Long Does It Take? If you have reason to believe that you\u2019re entitled, by law or by virtue of the deceased\u2019s Will, to act as the Executor of the deceased\u2019s Estate, the first step is to conduct a search for the deceased\u2019s Will. Even if you were unsuccessful in locating the deceased\u2019s Will, it\u2019s important to contact an Alberta Wills & Estates Lawyer to determine whether you\u2019re entitled to act as Executor and to book an initial consultation. Many probate lawyers will email you a questionnaire to complete at this stage of the process. Depending on how detailed your probate lawyer\u2019s questionnaire is, it may take you 2-3 hours to complete the questionnaire in advance of your initial consultation. The probate lawyers at West Legal offer free-of-charge, no-obligation, one-hour consultations to potential Estate Executors. We will review your completed questionnaire with you, answer any questions you may have, and discuss the next steps. We\u2019ll also provide you with an overview of the probate process and give you a list of the documentation we require to complete your application. [gdlr_tab icon"fas fa-check" title"Step 5: Information Gathering (1-2 days) " ]Once your Wills & Estates lawyer has confirmed that you\u2019re entitled to act as the Estate\u2019s Executor, you\u2019ll need to gather the required documentation. The required documentation may include a death certificate, bank statements, investment reports, life insurance policies, vehicle registration documents, and various other paperwork. This step is optional. Once you\u2019ve gathered all the necessary documentation, you may choose to scan and email it to your lawyer. At West Legal, we\u2019ll set up a second appointment for you at no additional charge to review the provided documentation and take copies of the same for our file, should you prefer an in-person meeting to email. The probate lawyers at West Legal strive to draft probate applications within 2 weeks of receiving all necessary information and documentation from the client. In exceptional cases this may not be possible, however, we typically meet or exceed the 2-week timeline we give ourselves. Once the application has been drafted, your probate lawyer will meet with you to go over the application and have you sign it. The time frame for this step may vary somewhat between law firms, but West Legal strives to have your application submitted to the Surrogate Court within 2-3 business days of signing. Once your probate application is submitted to the Surrogate Court, your probate lawyer has little control over the timeline. The Court may take up to 6 months to issue a Grant of Probate, depending on how busy they are. However, in our experience, the typical waiting period falls somewhere in the 6-14 weeks range. In rare cases, we\u2019ve received a Grant within 3 weeks of submitting an application. Once the Grant is issued, we typically meet with the client to provide them with several Certified True Copies the Grant. Once the Grant is issued, you\u2019ll need to provide your probate lawyer with account statements running from the date of the deceased\u2019s death to the date of the first release, for all Estate assets. Your lawyer will discuss your distribution options with you and create a proposed distribution table for you on that basis. If you\u2019re being compensated for acting as Executor, your lawyer may also create a compensation schedule. Once your probate lawyer has all the necessary financial statements, they\u2019ll also draft releases for each beneficiary to sign. In order to gather Estate assets, you\u2019ll likely need to provide copies of the Grant of Probate to the Land Titles Office, banks, and other financial institutions. Once your probate lawyer has received signed releases back from all Estate beneficiaries, you\u2019ll distribute the Estate according to the proposed distribution table. Depending on the circumstances, this process can be completed quite quickly, however, some Estates require multiple distributions, and it may take a year or more before all Estate assets have been liquidated and distributed. There are a number of tax-related filings that an Executor needs to make. It\u2019s best to consult with your tax accountant, who can advise and assist you with preparing all necessary returns and obtaining a clearance certificate. General Considerations The above timeline is a general sequence of how we typically proceed with a \u2018garden-variety\u2019 probate application. However, every Estate is different, and there are various intermediary steps that may be necessary in your situation that haven\u2019t been addressed above. It\u2019s also worth considering that some of the above-named steps can be completed simultaneously. For example, you may choose to consult with your tax accountant early on, rather than waiting until the Estate has been distributed to do so. We\u2019re Here to Guide You Each Step of the Way While the above may seem daunting, the experienced probate lawyers at West Legal are able to guide you through each step of the probate process. Reach out to us today to set up your free-of-charge consultation\u2014we\u2019d appreciate an opportunity to guide you through the challenges of the probate process. email@example.com or 403-723-0175 to get started.