Are you beginning to plan for the future and feeling a little overwhelmed where wills and probate are concerned? You’re not alone! Whether you’re preparing to welcome a new addition to the family, have recently acquired significant assets, or need to accommodate sudden changes, preparing for the future can often feel daunting. Thankfully, with the right knowledge and assistance, preparing your will can be relatively straight forward. Below, we’ll break down some of the basics of probate, including what it entails, how to set yourself (and your loved ones) up for success, and more.
What Is Probate?
Probate refers to the process when a will is “proven” or verified within a legal or government system. It also pertains to the general administering of the deceased’s estate, with or without a will. When a property owner dies, their assets must be divided among beneficiaries and the probate process ensures that everything within the will is carried out smoothly, and directly according to your wishes. In the absence of a binding legal will, the probate process determines the fair allocation of your assets and may involve disputes, open-ended areas, and more.
Not All Wills Need To Be Probated
While the needs for probate will vary from estate to estate, typically, if the value of your assets is under $25,000, the process may not be required. That said, having a will greatly expedites allocation and serves as a form of reassurance for your loved ones during a difficult time of transition. It may also be prudent to probate a will in order to start the limitations period on any potential litigation issues.
It Takes Longer Than Most People Expect
In Vancouver, as well as the rest of British Columbia, the probate process is administered by the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court. There is typically a one month waiting period between the time an application is received and the approval of said registration, although we’ve been able to obtain probate within a couple of weeks sometimes depending on the Registry’s volume of applications. After approval, you can expect estate matters to take roughly four months to two years to reach a conclusion.
There are Fees Associated
In the simplest terms, the probate fee is a tax charged by the courts to approve a will, or in the case of an intestate’s (individual who died without a will) estate, approve the administrator of the estate. Within BC, the fee is roughly 1.4% of all assets passing through the estate.
How To Avoid Probate
Estate planning is an important part of sometimes avoiding, or at least considering how to minimize the effects of the probate process on your loved ones. Working with a skilled team of legal experts will help ensure your assets have clearly defined beneficiaries, as well as give you access to solutions that will help reduce the stress for your loved ones in the event of your passing.
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 in the many years to come. We believe that estate planning can be simple, and are happy to partner with you to make the process feel easy and transparent. Contact us today to learn more!