FAQs about the Probate Process in Alberta

West Legal breaks down the process of obtaining a probate.

Probate FAQs

What does it mean to probate a will?

When people refer to probate, or probating a will, they are likely referring to obtaining a “grant of probate”. A grant of probate is obtained by the personal representative, or executor, of the estate upon application to the Surrogate Office of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Alberta. The grant allows the personal representative to legally fulfill their duties as administrator of the estate.

Do I have to obtain a grant of probate in Alberta? 

While a grant of probate is often required to administer a deceased’s estate, it is not always necessary. Simple estates, estates with minimal assets and estates where all assets are held with a surviving spouse in joint names may not require probate. The estate lawyers at West Legal will provide you with an honest assessment of whether or not you can avoid probate and the associated legal costs.

In what circumstances will I need to go through probate?

Without a complete picture of the estate in question, it’s impossible to provide a definitive answer as to whether probate will be required. However, there are circumstances where probate will almost always be required. Those circumstances include estates where there is no surviving spouse as a joint tenant, where assets are in the name of the deceased only, where the estate has significant asset value, where there is no will and where the will is of dubious validity.

What is the difference between a grant of probate and a grant of administration?

Typically, a grant of probate is obtained for estates where a valid will exists that appoints a willing and able personal representative. Where no will exists, or there is a will but the appointed personal representative is deceased, unable or unwilling to act, a person wishing to administer the estate may apply for a grant of administration.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for a grant of probate or a grant of administration?

While you don’t have to retain a lawyer’s services when applying for a grant of probate or a grant of administration, it is highly recommended. You may find yourself unsure of which grant to apply for or whether you need to apply at all and an estates lawyer will guide you towards the best option. The probate process requires extensive paperwork which is often confusing. Estate lawyers work with probate documents regularly and are able to ensure the application proceeds smoothly.

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