Estate Administration

The loss of a loved one is often a stressful and overwhelming time in our lives. Not only is it emotionally difficult, but dealing with the assets and liabilities of a deceased and his/her estate can be complex and confusing. At our firm, we offer to guide and assist you in this difficult time. Our Estate Administration paralegal, Nicole, is kind, knowledgeable and very experienced, and she is here to help you in settling your loved one’s estate efficiently and effectively.

The following is some information you may find helpful:

The Deceased Left a Will Naming an Executor – Application for a Grant of Probate

A will speaks from the time of death, and an executor takes his/her authority directly from the will. While that is true, it is often the case that the nature of the deceased’s assets will demand that an estate grant issues prior to their transfer to the ultimate beneficiaries. If, for example, the deceased owned real property in his/her own name at the date of death, an estate grant will be required before the real property can be transferred. Additionally, if the entirety of the estate has a value of over $25,000, and the deceased owned a motor vehicle in his own name, an estate grant will be required before the motor vehicle can be transferred. If the deceased only had financial assets, it will be up to the asset-holder as to whether or not an estate grant will be required. Contrary to what people often believe, there is no “threshold” at which probate is or is not required.
Being named as an executor in a deceased’s will entails much responsibility. It will be up to you to ensure that not only the wishes of the deceased, but also all legal requirements of the deceased and his/her estate are complied with. One of the personal wishes you will be immediately responsible for are funeral arrangements. The will often states what the deceased’s wishes are. Some of the legal requirements will include safeguarding and maximizing the deceased’s assets, ensuring that all income tax returns are filed and assessed, obtaining clearance certificates, and accounting to the beneficiaries prior to distributing the estate assets.

The Deceased Did not Leave a Will – Application for a Grant of Administration with Will Annexed

If the deceased did not leave a will, and his assets are such that an estate grant is required, the estate grant which will issue is a grant of administration without will annexed. In such a situation, the personal representative takes his authority from the grant at the time it issues. Upon the issuance of the grant, an administrator has the same responsibilities as the executor as mentioned above. The administrator will also need to safeguard and maximize the assets, ensure that all income tax returns are filed and assessed, obtain clearance certificates, and account to the beneficiaries.

Joint Assets – No Estate Grant Application

If all of the deceased’s assets were held jointly with another person, transmission of those assets to the surviving joint tenant will be required. In the case of real property, this typically involves filing the necessary documents (including the death certificate) with the Land Title and Survey Authority. With respect to assets other than real property, certain documents are usually required to be completed and signed by the surviving joint owner. A notarially-certified copy of the death certificate will also need to be provided.

We would be pleased to assist you whether a grant of probate, grant of administration without will annexed, or transmission of assets to a surviving joint owner is required. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss any questions you might have.

Nicole has in excess of 30 years’ experience working in law. Prior to joining Bradford Rathborne Law, she was employed for over 20 years by an international law firm in Vancouver. She brings to our firm a broad range of experience, particularly in the area of estate administration, and enjoys working closely with clients to assist them in navigating the often daunting and emotionally challenging task of administering an estate.