Tips on How to Avoid Probate in Alberta

Tips on How to Avoid Probate in Alberta

When a person dies, the management of their estate typically falls upon a close family member, who becomes their personal representative (also known as executor). If the deceased has left behind a document known as the last will and testament, the assets will be allocated according to their wishes. In order for the personal representative to gain the requisite authority to distribute the assets in Alberta, they may need to file a grant of probate.

Our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers may be able to help guide you through the probate process with as much ease as possible. However, depending on your situation, you may be wondering if it may be possible to avoid probate altogether.

In this article, we have assembled some tips on how to avoid probate in Alberta. For detailed guidance based on the information of your specific case, contact us today and schedule your consultation with our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process of validating the last will and testament of a deceased person. In some cases, a personal representative may require a court-ordered grant of probate in order to handle the deceased’s assets. Generally, the personal representative will need a grant of probate if all the financial assets of the deceased were held solely in their name, and/or if there is real estate involved. 

Contact our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers to learn more, including whether or not your will requires probate.

Why Would You Want to Avoid Probate?

Generally speaking, the probate process can be made smooth with the assistance of an Edmonton probates and wills lawyer. Personal representatives typically have a reasonable amount of time in which to settle the estate, and may be paid a fee for their duties. Having a grant of probate can offer peace of mind should any family disputes arise regarding the validity of the will.

Probate is a step in the process of estate administration, and in some cases it may not be necessary. There are ways of structuring an estate plan in order for your personal representative to avoid probate.

How to Avoid Probate in Alberta

Because the need for probate arises after a person’s death, strategies for avoiding probate in Alberta typically involve taking actions while alive. These are some actions you may consider:

  • Designate beneficiaries for your registered assets (TFSA, RRSP, RRIF) and life insurance policy - upon your death, the assets will go directly to the named beneficiaries.
  • Establish a joint tenancy for your real estate property - because of the right of survivorship, the property will transfer to the other joint tenant(s) upon your death.
  • Establish a living trust, in which a trustee may hold assets on your behalf, for the benefit of a designated beneficiary. 
  • Draft multiple wills - knowing what assets are subject to probate in Alberta, which are not, you may have one will for each category.
  • Make gifts while you are still alive - because probate only comes into play upon your death, any assets you give as gifts to beneficiaries while you are living will not be part of your estate. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the above options, and it is important to be informed as to your economic decision-making before committing to action. Schedule a consultation with our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers today to discuss what may be of greatest advantage in your case.

Contact Our Edmonton Probates and Wills Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Estate planning can be a challenging process, and it may be invaluable to have the guidance of professionals in helping you strategize for the future. Whether you would like tips on how to avoid probate in Alberta, or other matters pertaining to your last will and testament or estate plan, our Edmonton probates and wills lawyers would be happy to talk. Contact us today and schedule your consultation.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of probates and wills, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta probates and wills lawyer.

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