WE are giving probate its’ own page, because it is it’s own process, outside of the regular checklist. You will need all the same documentation, as well as land titles and asset information. Each province has different rules around probate, for example, when Bill died, because of real estate holdings, although he lived in BC, we had to complete probate in Alberta.
*** I can’t stress enough, before you begin, and based upon money available, there are lots of things you can do yourself for a lot less than a lawyer! In fact there are papers etc that only need to be notarized by a ‘Notary Public’, instead of a lawyer, saving you money right there. We also did probate ourselves. It took a bit longer, but it can be done, and it saved us thousands of dollars. When we first began the process I could only find one person in BC who had attempted probate, and frankly it seemed so difficult that we started looking for a lawyer. Once we realized the cost of a lawyer though, we went back to the DIY mentality and pushed on.
One big thing we learned during our experience, is that if you do things one step at a time, it will get done quicker, and without the headache. When the probate forms from Alberta arrived, it was a stack 2 inches high (Im not kidding). I shook my head ‘nope’ and left that package sitting on the desk for a week before I plucked up the courage and decided I had better open it. When I did , I was happy to find that half of the papers I wouldn’t need, and another big pile was actually a reference guide that showed how to fill out all the parts. The people at the land titles office were also amazing, and really helpful by phone and mail.
Of course even in just the short time since Bill’s death, there is so much more information on the Internet now, and if you make Google search your friend, you can come up with some great finds, such as the excerpt from the book below.
ALWAYS remember, it is up to you how much you want to take on at this time. I don’t mind paper work, which is why we opted to go the DIY route, but if paperwork makes you crazy, definitely have it handled by a lawyer.
THIS link will give you an idea of probate fees per province, as well as a list of certificates and documentation you will need. If you have gone through your checklists and collected all the information, you should already have what you need!
Below is a bit from the Dummies.com website:
the probate process
Even though you won’t be around when your estate goes through probate (after all, you’ll be dead), you need to understand how the probate process works. At the most basic levels, the probate process involves two steps:
- Pays debts you owe
- Transfers assets to your beneficiaries
A state court called the probate court oversees the probate process.Because probate courts are state courts and not federal courts, the processes they follow may vary from one state to another. Yet despite their differences, these courts all pretty much follow the same basic processes and steps, which typically include:
- Swearing in your personal representative
- Notifying heirs, creditors, and the public that you are, indeed, dead
- Inventorying your property
- Distributing your estate (including paying bills and any taxes)