Our Lawyers Assist in Probate Administration and Litigation Matters
Services Our Experienced Probate Lawyers Handle
When a person dies, it may be necessary for his or her estate to go through the probate process. Probate is the legal process through which a deceased’s will is proven to be valid, after which the court determines how the deceased’s assets will be passed to beneficiaries. The Probate Act governs many legal matters pertaining to probate in Vancouver, British Columbia. In general, you must go through probate if there is no will, if anyone is contesting the will, or if the deceased has specific property that must go through probate to be distributed.
Our probate lawyers can assist you with all of the following probate administration and litigation issues:
- Probating a will;
- Probate taxes and administration fees; and
- Probate and estate litigation.
When a family member or another significant person in your life passes away, the probate process can be complicated and confusing. The following are some frequently asked questions about probate, along with answers that can help you to learn more about probate administration and litigation in British Columbia.
Does a will have to be probated?
The short answer to this question is no, but there are some situations in which a will does require probate. As you may know, probate is necessary if a person dies without a will. But when a person does have a will, why would you need to go through probate? There are common situations in which probate is required when the deceased had a will.
First, if anyone is contesting the will, or if there is litigation over the estate, probate is required. Then, if the deceased owned certain assets, probate is necessary. Common assets that are conferred through a will and that require probate include land or real estate (property registered in the land titles system), registered investment accounts, and certain assets held by a financial institution.
What property can be transferred without probate?
Personal belongings can nearly always be transferred without probate, such as furniture or other household items. Certain types of bonds can also be transferred without probate as long as they do not exceed a certain amount and are being transferred to a family member. In some cases, assets in a bank or another type of financial institution may be transferred without probate, but this can be a complicated process and not all assets are eligible. Property can also be transferred to a spouse without probate in most situations.
How long does probate take to complete?
Probate typically takes anywhere from nine months to one year, but it can take longer depending upon whether the will is contested or other issues arise.
What if there is not a will?
If there is no will, the deceased is said to have died intestate, and intestacy laws of succession will apply. The Intestate Succession Act governs the order in which heirs receive the deceased’s assets.
Can a will be challenged?
Yes, a will can be challenged, which is known as contesting the will. There are various reasons to contest a will, including, for example, allegations that the deceased did not have testamentary capacity when making the will, that the will was made through undue influence, that the will was made under suspicious circumstances, or that the will is fraudulent.
Going through probate can be extremely complicated without assistance from a lawyer, and you could make an error that could impact the outcome of your case. You should seek advice from an experienced probate administration and litigation lawyer to ensure the probate process goes as smoothly as possible.
Contact Norton Law for your Wills & Estate Planning Needs
At Norton Law, we have over 40 years of experience of legal experience serving British Columbians. Our team of lawyers understands the essentials and complexities that go into each individual’s probating a will and an estate. We can assist executors in the probate process, handle standard administrative tasks as well as litigation matters.
To learn more about how we can help in the probate process, call Norton Law at (855) 810-5286 to book a consultation with one of our family and estate lawyers at one of our offices in British Columbia.