Probate & Letters of Administration
A loved one's passing is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to deal with. If you are named as executor in the will, or if there is no will, this adds a layer of complexity to an already difficult situation. Let us help you though this difficult time. Our lawyers will walk you through the process step-by-step and all our fees are listed HERE so there are no surprises.
Here are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about Probate and Letters of Administration:
QUESTION: WHAT IS PROBATE / LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION?
Probate is the process to prove that the will in hand is the last will of the deceased, and that the personal representative named in the will is the correct personal representative.
Letters of Administration is the process of proving that an individual is the proper person to deal with if there was no will of the deceased.
Without obtaining probate / letters of administration, banks, land titles, and insurance companies will not release funds in accounts or transfer title of property.
QUESTION: WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DIE WITHOUT A WILL?
If you die without a will, someone will need to become a court appointed administrator of the deceased's estate. This is usually someone in the deceased family, but could be the public trustee's office if there is no family member willing to do this.
The deceased's estate will be distributed pursuant to the Alberta Wills and Succession Act.
QUESTION: DO ALL WILLS NEED TO BE PROBATED?
Not all wills need to be probated. If the deceased had no property, or owned all property jointly with another person, probate is not necessary.
There are certain circumstances where banks will allow money to be released from the deceased's account without probate / letters of administration if the amount in the account is under a certain dollar threshold set by each bank.
QUESTION: HOW LONG DOES PROBATE TAKE?
Once the lawyer has all necessary information to complete the probate application, the waiting time for a probate to be completed is about six months.
After a letter of probate / administration has been issued by the court, the personal representative is able to unfreeze the deceased's bank accounts and sell or transfer title to the deceased's property.