Taking care of someone's estate after they pass away is a complex process involving several legal steps. As such, handling an estate can seem overwhelming, but working with experienced lawyers can make it much easier. Probate is a common legal step, but many are unsure what it entails. Let's start by looking at probate, its meaning, how it affects you, and what to do next.
The Definition of Probate
What exactly does probate mean? Probate is a court process wherein a will is proven valid, and a Grant of Probate is issued. .
What Estate Administrators Should Know About Probate
It's important to note that probate isn't always necessary; it depends on the amount and complexity of the estate. For example, the surviving spouse may become the sole owner of the assets because everything was in both names as joint tenants.
However, there are several scenarios where probate may be required. This includes circumstances such as the following:
- The assets (especially real estate) are in the name of the deceased only
- There is no surviving spouse as a joint tenant
- Bank accounts and investments contain a significant amount of money
- The estate is the beneficiary of benefits from registered retirement plans
If you are unsure whether probate will be necessary, consult your estate lawyer. Be sure to mention if you think a family member might challenge the will; it's best to have this go through probate to prove the will is valid. For cases where the will's validity is in question, a separate application to the court may be necessary to obtain Formal Proof of the Will.
What Executors Need to Do Next
What can you expect from the process when you know you need to proceed with the probate? As a personal representative of an estate, the idea of probate might seem overwhelming at first, but it's not as complicated as you might think.
Find an Experienced Probate Lawyer
The most important task when going through the probate process is to find an experienced estate lawyer. The more experienced your lawyer is, the easier to complete it. Experienced estate lawyers like the team at MerGen Law provide high-quality, fully tailored legal services while remaining completely law-compliant.
Obtain the Grant of Probate
Once you have found an estate lawyer and learned if probate is necessary, you can officially start the process. The first step is for the personal representative or their lawyer to submit a probate application to the court for a Grant of Probate.
Once you have received the Grant of Probate, you should advertise for creditors to determine if people may make a claim. In the six months after probate is granted, the law allows certain people to make claims to change a will. If you don't wait the full six months, you may end up improperly distributing the assets and be personally liable.
Collect the Assets
After obtaining the Grant of Probate, you'll need to collect, transfer, sell, or administer all assets according to the will. However, you must not make a distribution to any beneficiary until all the debts of the Estate are paid. Be sure to keep detailed, correct records throughout this process, both for your own safety and so that you can be reimbursed for expenses.
Probate Lawyers and Estate Law in Calgary
In need of a probate lawyer? MerGen Law offers professional and timely legal services for clients in Calgary. No matter your probate needs, we're always ready to deliver high-quality, law-compliant legal services. Contact us today for your free consultation.