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Considerations about probate in Canada

If you are faced with decisions about probate -- whether it relates to the planning of your estate or the administration of another person's estate, there are some important things Alberta residents should think about. Namely, you need to begin by understanding what probate is intended for, and why a lot of people require it.

First, probate offers proof of the authority of the executor to third parties. This is important because executors are charged with the distribution of assets and some individuals may disagree with them. Third parties may want the probate process as proof that funds were distributed appropriately and lawfully. For example, if a third party is a bank that is holding the decedent's assets, it will want to ensure that those assets are distributed lawfully.

Second, probate offers the benefit of making land transfers easier, if the estate involves land as an asset. In most situations, land registry offices will actually require the probate process in order to properly transfer land from the decedent's name over to the name of an heir.

Third, probate puts time limitations on claims made against the estate. In many cases, time limitations on family law claims and/or dependent's relief claims do not begin to toll until the probate is granted. If no probate grant has been achieved, the time frame on claims against the estate might not ever run out.

As you can see, probate does afford certain benefits. These and other issues should be fully considered -- perhaps with the assistance of a lawyer -- any time an Alberta resident is faced with decision regarding his or her own or someone else's probate proceedings.

Source: Financial Post, "To probate or not to probate," Leanne Kaufman, accessed Feb. 05, 2016

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