Rob Culos of Culos & Co. offers excellent services in estate planning and estate administration that will save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

Rob Culos of Culos & Co. offers excellent services in estate planning and estate administration that will save you time, money, and hassle in the long run.

Wills? Probate? 5 common questions answered

When someone dies, closing the estate requires specific steps: here’s what you need to know

Whether you’re considering your own Will or have been asked to serve as Executor for someone else’s estate, you may have questions about the process. You’re not alone. Here, Vernon lawyer Robert Culos shares 5 common questions people gave around Wills and Probate.

1. What is Probate?

When someone dies, Probate refers to the process of proving the validity of a Will. This process culminates in Letters Probate being granted by the Supreme Court of British Columbia and allowing the Executor to disperse the estate as directed in the Will.

2. What happens if there is no will?

“When someone dies without a will, nobody is named as Executor; the person who becomes responsible for the estate is called the Administrator, although both roles are referred to as ‘Personal Representatives,’” explains Culos, from Culos & Co. Law.

RELATED READING: Estate planning now can save family stress and expense later

3. Then why do I need a will?

First, it often takes longer for the Court to issue Letters of Administration than Letters Probate, both called an “Estate Grant.”

Further, some of the essential initial tasks following a death are much easier for an Executor who can present a copy of the Will to those such as the funeral director, a banker or a property manager, Culos notes.

Beyond those initial tasks, in British Columbia, some assets owned by the deceased can also only be transferred to heirs if the Executor or Administrator has obtained an Estate Grant.

4. Is it possible to transfer assets without an Estate Grant?

If the deceased owned real estate jointly with another person, the surviving joint tenant will receive the deceased’s share without an Estate Grant.

Also, some other assets can be transferred directly to a named beneficiary without an Estate Grant, such as Life Insurance, RRSPs, TFSAs, RRIFs and Segregated Funds.

5. What’s required to make an application for an Estate Grant?

First, the applicant must give notice to:

  • the beneficiaries named in the Will;
  • spouses and children, who have the right to ask the Court to vary the Will by giving them a larger share;
  • any family member who would be an heir if there were no Will.

Second, the Applicant must also give evidence regarding:

  • the Deceased and his or her family members;
  • the Will (or their unsuccessful search for one);
  • the Deceased’s assets that pass to the estate.

How long does it take to receive the Estate Grant? We’ll look at that in the next article, when Culos will review best practices for the application, and issues that can delay the Estate Grant.

It is important to note that during the current COVID-19 crisis, the time needed for the entire process is understandably taking longer, he notes.

To learn more about estate planning, contact Culos & Co. Law at 250-549-7168 in Vernon, or 250-546-2448 in Armstrong, or visit online.

RELATED READING: The risks of signing a homemade Will

Estate planningLawyers

Just Posted

Paddlewheel Park off Okanagan Landing Road, Vernon. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looks to address parking shortage at Paddlewheel Park

City staff are looking into short, medium and long-term overflow parking options

WATCH: A Royal procession through Vernon, 1959

Prince Philip, who died April 9 at 99, visited Vernon on a tour of Canada in 1959

The West Kelowna Warriors defeated the Vernon Vipers 4-2 in BCHL Pod Season action Friday, April 9, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors end Vernon Vipers’ perfect start to Pod Season

The Warriors beat the Vipers 4-2 Friday afternoon

Plans are still up in the air for the 2021 Funtastic Slo-Pitch Society’s annual softball tournament and music festival after the 2020 event was cancelled by COVID-19. (Morning Star - file photo)
Raffle launched to keep Funtastic funds flowing to local sports groups

The raffle to fill the Funtastic Sports Society’s 2021 grant coffers runs until July 3

Highway 97A in Armstrong was closed in both directions Monday afternoon, just after 4 p.m., due to a serious accident at Rosedale Avenue. (Bob Dunbar photo)
No merge lanes needed on Armstrong’s Highway 97 access points: ministry

Transportation Ministry reviews accident reports, slope stability with city staff

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read