What assets are subject to probate in Alberta?
Probate is the name for the process by which the Court of Queen's Bench verifies the validity of a will and the identity of the personal representative. The personal representative named in the will, also known as the executor, has the authority to deal with the assets of the estate without a grant of probate. Probate is only necessary when the transfer of assets to the executor or to the beneficiaries requires the involvement of the Land Title Office or a financial institution.
Our Alberta wills and estates lawyers can help you to determine what assets are subject to probate in Alberta. Contact us for a consultation today.
Real property in Alberta
Alberta's Land Title Office requires proof that a will is valid in the form of probate before it will transfer the property of the deceased. Any property that the deceased owned as a sole owner or as a tenant in common is subject to probate.
If the deceased owned property as a joint tenant, then the joint tenant has a right of survivorship. That means that the property does not form part of the estate of the deceased. It passes directly to the surviving owner. The surviving owner only needs to complete the necessary forms and file them with the Land Title Office for the property transfer to be registered.
Real property located outside of Alberta will be subject to the laws of that province or country. Contact one of our wills and estate lawyers for assistance.
Do financial assets require probate?
Some financial assets, such as RRSPs, TFSAs and insurance policies, have named beneficiaries. These assets do not form part of the estate of the deceased. The financial institution in charge of the asset will transfer the asset directly to the named beneficiary once they receive the proper paperwork, which generally includes a copy of the death certificate.
Financial assets can also be owned in joint tenancy, which means that the asset passes directly to the surviving owner. The financial institution may require the surviving owner to provide a death certificate or other documentation prior to transferring ownership, but probate should not be required as this asset does not form part of the estate.
There are still many financial assets that will require probate. If you are acting as a personal representative for an estate, you can ask the relevant financial institutions if they will require the will to be probated. The more complex the estate, the more likely it is that probate will be necessary.
How do you have a will probated?
The executor of the estate applies to the court for probate of the will. An application for probate must include:
- the original version of the will
- a detailed list of all the assets and debts of the deceased
- identities of the beneficiaries (names, birth dates and addresses)
- date and location of the birth and death of the deceased.
Contact our Alberta wills and estates lawyer today for a legal consultation
Other information may be needed in particular circumstances. Our wills and estates professionals can help you to determine what assets are subject to probate in Alberta and can prepare an application for you if probate is necessary. Contact us today to arrange for a personal consultation regarding all your wills and estates legal matters.
Disclaimer: Please note the content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice. For more specific legal advice please consult with a family lawyer.