How Long Does Probate Take in Alberta? Getting Through the Estate Administration Process

The Probate Process is a Complex One

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva October 13, 2021
DLegal Law Office - Clocks

How Long Does Probate Take in Alberta?

When after death is Probate granted? This is a common question we hear from clients. Honestly, there is no simple answer when it comes to how long Probate takes. In Alberta Probate is a complex process, and each step has its requirements and timelines. The complexity of the estate and skills of the personal representative are also determinative. When the Probate paperwork is incorrect, the Court will require corrections, and the Probate takes longer.

At DLegal, we are committed to streamlining the Probate process for our clients. We provide comprehensive guidance to executors and meet deadlines we give ourselves to ensure the Probate goes smoothly and efficiently.

Grant Of Probate in Alberta

In its broad meaning, “Probate” usually means an Estate Administration process. The Estate Administration is a process of distributing the estate of the deceased. Unless the estate is very simple or the Probate is not required, one of the primary steps in the Estate Administration is to apply to the Court for a Probate.

The Grant of Probate is a court document where the Judge of the Surrogate Division of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench approves the Will and validates the authority of the Personal Representative. When a person dies without a Will, the document is called “Letters of Administration.” However, the process of getting Letters of Administration often involves similar stages and tasks.

What Are the Stages Of Probate in Alberta?

So, if you are a Personal Representative, also know as an Executor, you may expect the following typical steps in getting the Probate or Letters of Administration. The suggested timelines are approximate when it comes to how long probate takes in Alberta and will apply only to amicable situations. Also, the ETA will vary depending on how much time and attention you are prepared to devote to the process, whether you have sufficient skills and professional support.

1. SEARCHING FOR THE WILL STAGE

When a person passes away, someone can become the deceased’s Personal Representative. The entitlement to become a Personal Representative comes from a Will or the statute if the deceased did not appoint one in the Will or left no Will. So, one needs to perform a search for the Will before proceeding to the next stage. Unless your case is unusual, this stage should not take longer than 1-3 days.

2. DETERMINING THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE STAGE

If you found the Will, you need to confirm that it is valid and determine whom the deceased wanted to become the estate’s Executor. If the Will cannot be located, you need to determine who has priority to become the Personal Representative under the statute.

You may want to contact an Alberta Probate Lawyer to assist you with this to avoid uncertainty or delays. Most of the time, a Wills & Estates Lawyer will need an hour or so to review your initial information and discuss your case with you. At DLegal, we offer free-of-charge initial consultations to assist you.

3. GATHERING INFORMATION STAGE

Assuming that you are entitled to become the Personal Representative for the deceased’s estate, you will need to gather the information for the Probate application. The documents may include the death certificate, bank and investment statements, life insurance policies, land titles, vehicle registration documents, a list of other assets and liabilities, and family information.

DLegal Probate Lawyers provide clients with easy-to-use questionnaires and supporting information to simplify this task. Depending on how complex the estate is, this stage may take from 2 days to several weeks.

Once you have all the documentation in place, you need to pass this on to your lawyer. At DLegal, we review and discuss the paperwork with clients at no additional charge to ensure we have everything we need to proceed with the Probate application.

4. PREPARING THE PROBATE APPLICATION STAGE

Once you have all the information in place, it’s time to complete the paperwork for the court application. DLegal Probate lawyers are committed to drafting the application for Probate or Letters of Administration within 2 weeks upon receiving all required information from the client. If your situation is extraordinary and requires more time, we will discuss the ETA with you in advance. Once your Probate application is ready, we will review it with you and invite you for signing.

5. FILING THE PROBATE APPLICATION STAGE

After you sign the court application, you must submit it to the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, in the judicial district where the deceased resided at the time of death. Depending on the circumstances, you can file it electronically or in person. At DLegal, we are committed to filing the applications within 1-3 business days of signing.

6. PROCESSING THE PROBATE APPLICATION STAGE

After receiving the Probate application, the Court will need time to process it. For example, in Calgary, the Court may take up to 6 months to review the application and issue the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. However, it will typically take 6-12 weeks for Probate in Alberta, depending on how busy the Court is and whether the paperwork requires correction or additional information. Unfortunately, at this stage, there is no way to expedite the process.

Once the Judge grants the Probate or Letters of Administration, you will receive certified Copies of the Grant. It is no time to proceed with the estate distribution.

7. PROPOSED DISTRIBUTION, RELEASES, AND EXECUTOR’S COMPENSATION STAGE

Upon receiving the Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration, the Personal Representative can complete the administration of the estate. To begin, the Personal Representative will need to prepare account statements for all assets in the estate from the date of the deceased’s death to the first release date. Based on this, the Personal Representative will consider the estate distribution options and create a distribution table. Finally, if the Personal Representative is seeking compensation, they will need to prepare a compensation schedule.

When all financial information is in place, it’s time to draft releases for the beneficiaries to sign. If required, Probate Lawyers at DLegal Law Office assist clients with reviewing the financial documentation and preparing the releases for the beneficiaries. Depending on the complexity of the estate, location of assets, and the beneficiaries’ response time, this stage may take 2 weeks or longer.

8. GATHERING THE ASSETS, SETTLING DEBTS, AND DISTRIBUTION STAGE

To consolidate the assets of the estate, the Personal Representative will need to transfer them from the deceased to the deceased’s estate. To do so, the Personal Representative may need to submit the necessary paperwork to banks, insurance companies, registry, and Land Title Office.

Before distributed the estate, the Personal Representative must pay all debts and taxes of the deceased. In some cases, the Personal Representative must obtain a Clearance Certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency. Because the Executor bears personal liability for the tax payments, consider discussing complex tax filings and the Clearance Certificate with a tax accountant.

After the Personal Representative gathers the assets and obtains the releases from all the estate beneficiaries, they can distribute the deceased’s estate per the proposed distribution table.

This stage may take from several weeks to several years, depending on the complexity of the deceased’s situation. Generally, the Executors have up to one year to complete the Estate Administration. However, obtaining a Clearance Certificate may take several months to over a year, if one is required before distributing the estate. As a result, the Personal Representative will need to postpone the distribution until after receiving the Clearance Certificate from the CRA.

The above steps and timelines are typical for a Probate application. Still, the process will vary in each situation, and some estates require additional steps and considerations.

Our Probate Lawyers Are Here For You!

Probate may seem a challenging and time-consuming task when you never did that before. At DLegal, we have gone through this multiple times and are ready to share our knowledge and skills with you. Reach out to us today, and we will be happy to navigate you through each stage of the Probate application process and make it easy on you.

Questions?

The DLegal team is here to support. We will do our best to assist or connect you with those who can help.

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