Estate Administration Tax or "Probate Fees"
Many clients are unaware that the personal property of an estate must be inventoried and valued during the probate process and taxes are to be paid on their value. Professional appraisers will provide you with a detailed, itemized list and a corresponding value for each item in the estate given in the form of a professional written report. Do not pay more than you have to and avoid potential re-assessment of the value of the deceased's estate with a neutral and professional appraisal report.
Probate is having the Court establish that a Will is valid. Most financial institutions, motor vehicle departments, and the Land Title Office require the executor to probate the Will before they will allow the executor to deal with the assets of the deceased held with them. In order to obtain probate, the executor must obtain a Wills Notice search and file numerous affidavits with the Probate Registry. One of the Affidavits requires the executor to confirm he has notified the appropriate people.
It is necessary to notify three groups of people that the executor is obtaining probate:
- The beneficiaries under the Will
- Those persons entitled on an intestacy (where there is no Will); and
- Those persons entitled to apply under the Wills Variation Act (spouses and children).
If the executor is unable to locate one of these people, a court application may be necessary and may result in a delay in obtaining probate. The Grant of Letters Probate can be obtained in as little as six weeks or it can take many months depending on the complexity of the assets in the estate and whether the beneficiaries can be easily located. It is the executor’s job to disclose all assets of the deceased as at the date of death and obtaining this information can often take a long time.
It is often quite a time saver if a lawyer is employed. In British Columbia, the probate fee is calculated as follows:
- The first $25,000.00 ($0.00 to $25,000.00) = $208.00
- The next $25,000.00 ($25,000.00 to $50,000.00) = $150.00
- Over $50,000.00 = 1.4% of the estate, or $14.00 per $1,000.00, or part thereof
Estates that are under $25,000.00 do not usually require probate and some financial institutions will release funds in excess of $25,000.00 without probate if the account is the only asset in the estate.
The obtaining of probate is one small part in the settling of an estate.