Probate is the approval process that takes place in Canada which validates your will and confirms the appointment of your executor. This process is usually undertaken by an experienced legal professional. With their help, handling probate is usually straightforward, although highly detailed, and ensures the government receives all necessary taxes owed when the will is executed. Sometimes however, this process is less straightforward for Canadians who have assets across the country in multiple provinces. For example, you may live in Vancouver, BC but have a number of accounts with banks in Alberta. If this is the case, you may be wondering where exactly your estate will be probated. This is a common question, but many are still unclear as to exactly how probate works across provincial borders in Canada.
Lets assume you have your primary residence in BC, but have significant assets in Alberta banks that will also be part of your estate. There are many reasons why this may be the case. One major reason why you may choose to keep funds in Alberta as opposed to BC has a lot to do with the probate fees in both provinces. Each province in Canada has a different probate fee, and some are significantly higher than others. Say you have an estate worth $500,000, and you are charged a probate fee on that estate in BC. At the current rate, you will be charged a probate fee of $7200. The same estate in Alberta will only be charged a probate fee of $400. The major differences in fees is why many Canadians choose to move their assets to provinces with a smaller probate fee. Now that we know why Canadians opt to keep their wealth in other provinces, we still need to know which probate fee will be charged on what assets.
In general, a will is probated in the province the deceased individual kept their primary residence, though this only applies to the assets that were in the province at the time of death. Things like your home and accounts in BC will be probated in BC. This does not account for your assets in Alberta, because a separate court order will be required to probate the assets in Alberta. This can involve a lot of moving parts for the executor, as they will likely need to hire a lawyer based in Alberta to handle the application and pay the fees in that province. This is why it is wise for individuals with assets in multiple provinces to prepare their estate for these necessary applications. If you require assistance with these arrangements, be sure to call the estate law experts at Ganapathi Law. We can save you and your loved ones a great deal of time, stress and expenses by helping you prepare for such occurrences. To find out more, or to book a consultation with one of our lawyers, feel free to contact us today.