Probate in British Columbia: What You Need To Know

Do you have a plan in place to protect your loved ones once you pass? If you’ve started to look into the process of estate planning in British Columbia, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed. While there are many different reasons to consider your future, the safety of those we love is what matters most. With Paperclip Law on your side, navigating estates, wills, and even probate proceedings can be simple and straight forward. From ensuring your family has a clear directive to follow in your absence to help your legacy live on, our team is here to support. Learn more about the basics of probate law, including what to expect if you’re about to begin the process in Vancouver below.

What Does It Mean When A Will Goes Into “Probate”?

Probate refers to the process of proving or verifying the deceased’s will within a legal or governmental system, as well as the process of handling estate matters with or without legal documentation. When someone dies, assets must then be divided among specified beneficiaries; the probate process is designed to ensure that this proceeds smoothly and according to any previously expressed wishes as found in your will and legal directives. In the absence of a legal will, the probate process also determines the fair allocation of your assets and can involve disputes, open-ended areas, and more.

Can You Avoid Probate Procedures?

In a word: possibly. While the needs for probate vary from estate to estate, typically, when the total value of the deceased’s assets is less than $25,000, probate may not be necessary (but there are still reasons to go through with the probate process for different reasons, like in a potentially disputed estate). With that being said, probate is ultimately designed to help protect those you love and care about in the event of your passing, and acts as a crucial form of reassurance during an immensely emotional time. This is particularly vital if you have outstanding debts, major assets (company shares, etc) that need to be allocated, or other such complications that can lead to years of potential strife for family members without the proper guidance in place.

It Will Take Time

In British Columbia, probate law is governed by the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court. There is a 3-week waiting period between the time of death and the ability to file a probate application, and then a further 3-6 week (typically) wait between an application is received and the approval of the registration, however, depending on various circumstances both pertaining to and outside your specific case, this can fluctuate. Once your application is approved, estate matters can range anywhere from approximately one month to two years to be fully resolved. In other words, if your loved ones are hoping to immediately receive their portion of your assets, you’ll want to make sure they are advised of what to expect ahead of time and have suitable arrangements made.

Know That There Are Costs Associated

One aspect that can surprise family members dealing with probate mattes is that there is a fee charged by the courts in order to approve the will or the administrator of the estate if the deceased passed without a legal will. Within BC, the fee is roughly 1.4% of all assets passing through the estate.

How To Avoid Probate Mishaps

Estate planning is essential when it comes to minimizing the confusion and frustration your loved ones will face once you’re gone. Working with a skilled team of legal experts will help ensure your assets have clearly defined beneficiaries and make it easier for everyone to cope with your loss.

Paperclip Law is proud to help our clients throughout the Vancouver Region and Squamish find perfectly tailored solutions when it comes to managing their assets today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. We believe that estate planning should be simple and are happy to partner with you to make the process feel easy and transparent. Contact us today to learn more!