Some Background Information
When someone dies in Alberta, their Executor, whether appointed by law or by the deceased’s Last Will, must complete what is called the Estate Administration process. I’d estimate that in at least 80% of cases, the Estate Administration process requires the Executor to apply for either a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Administration.
While other Grants are issued by the courts in Alberta, Grants of Probate and Administration are the two most commonly issued grants, by a wide margin. Typically, a Grant of Probate is issued when the deceased left a valid Will, while a Grant of Administration is usually issued when the deceased didn’t leave a valid Will.
Applications for a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration, whether filed by the Executor’s lawyer or the Executor themselves, primarily consist of a series of forms called NC Forms. It’s also important to keep in mind that applications for Grants of Probate and Administration are “desk” or “paper” applications in most cases, rather than face-to-face applications before a Justice or Judge of the Court. As such, it’s essential that the correct NC Forms are used, and that they’re completed accurately.
Alberta Probate Court Forms
The formal name for the “Probate Court” in Alberta is the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench and is what lawyers and others typically refer to as the Surrogate Court. Don’t worry about the terminology too much, but it’s important to have a general understanding of the forms that are used and required by the Surrogate Court.
Surrogate Court forms in Alberta are given ‘codes’ to indicate their use or purpose to the reader. There are 3 main codes for Surrogate Forms in Alberta:
‘NC’ stands for ‘non-contested’. In other words, these forms are used for Estate applications in cases when the Estate hasn’t been challenged.
‘C’ stands for ‘contested’. ‘C Forms’ are typically used when an Estate is challenged, becomes contested, or there’s some aspect of the Estate Administration process that requires clarification from the Court.
‘ACC’ is short for ‘accounting’. ‘ACC Forms’ deal with various accounting aspects of the Estate administration process. One of the most important responsibilities of an Executor is keeping proper and formal accounts of all Estate assets. If you’re an Executor, you must seek the professional advice of a probate lawyer and a tax accountant to help you ensure that you meet your accounting obligations to the Estate.
Surrogate NC Forms
Now that you have background knowledge of the 3 types of Surrogate Court forms, let’s review NC Forms, specifically. When it comes to Probate and Estate administration, NC forms are by far the most relevant of the 3 types of Surrogate Court forms. There are 49 (yes, 49) different NC Forms that may comprise a Probate Application or an Application for a Grant of Administration. However, of those 49 forms, there are the most commonly used in Alberta:
NC 1: Application by the Personal Representative(s) for a Grant
Think of the NC 1 as the ‘cover page’ of the application. It indicates the name of the deceased, the name of the Executor, the Executor’s address for service, the Executor’s lawyer’s information, and it indicates what type of grant is being applied for.
NC 2: Affidavit by the Personal Representative(s) on Application for a Grant
The NC 2 is an affidavit that’s sworn or affirmed by the Estate’s Executor. It describes any unusual circumstances that affect the Estate and lists the schedules (NC 3-7) that form part of the affidavit.
NC 3: Schedule 1: Deceased
The NC 3 contains background information about the deceased, including the dates and location of the deceased’s birth and death, among other information.
NC 4: Schedule 2: Will
The NC 4 includes information about the Will. If the deceased didn’t leave a Will, and you’re applying for a Grant of Administration, an NC 4 is unnecessary. The NC 4 includes the names of the witnesses to the Will, the date the Will was signed and notes whether or not any changes or alterations have been made to the Will.
NC 5: Schedule 3: Personal Representative(s)
The NC 5 contains information about the Personal Representative (Executor), including their address, relationship to the deceased, and age.
NC 6: Schedule 4: Beneficiaries
The NC 6 lists out the Estate’s beneficiaries, and outlines what share of the Estate each beneficiary is entitled to.
NC 7: Schedule 5: Inventory of Property and Debts
The NC 7 provides a complete breakdown of all debts and assets of the Estate as of the date of death. This document is typically the most detailed of the NC Forms and includes account numbers, dollar values, and a total Estate value.
NC 8: Affidavit of Witness to a Will
The NC 8 is an affidavit that’s sworn by one of the witnesses to the deceased’s last Will. The NC 8 may have been sworn at the time the deceased’s Will was signed, in which case it will likely be attached to the Will. If it wasn’t sworn when the Will was signed, the Executor will need to track down one of the witnesses to the Will and have them sign an NC 8. For more information on the NC 8 form, or Affidavit of Witness to a Will, click here.
NC 19/NC 20: Notice to Beneficiaries (Residuary and Non-Residuary)
The NC 19 and NC 20 forms are notices to the beneficiaries of the Estate. Which of the two notices you use depends on whether the beneficiary who’s being notified is a residuary beneficiary of the Estate or the beneficiary of a specific gift or bequest. Once the probate application is submitted, an NC 19 or NC 20 must be served on each beneficiary of the Estate, either in-person or by registered mail.
NC 21: Notice to Beneficiaries (Intestacy)
An NC 21 is similar to an NC 19 or NC 20 in the sense that it is a notice to the beneficiaries of an estate. Intestacy means that the deceased died without leaving a Will and that the Executor is applying for a Grant of Administration rather than a Grant of Probate, and, as such, a different notice form is required.
NC 27: Affidavit of Service
An NC 27 is an affidavit sworn by the Executor or the Executor’s lawyer, which indicates that they’ve served each beneficiary with the required notice.
Which NC Forms Should I Use?
If you’re an Executor, and you’re unsure of which NC Forms to use, reach out to the experienced probate lawyers at West Legal. Our Wills & Estates team has a deep understanding of the Surrogate Court forms, and we offer free-of-charge, no-obligation consultations to Estate Executors who are considering our Probate services.Contact a Calgary Estates Lawyer