What happens if you die without a will?
If you die without a Will (or intestate), you lose control over who gets how much of your estate and when. The law dictates how your estate will be distributed following strict guidelines, which will most likely not be how you intended your estate to be distributed.
Additionally, if minors are involved, the Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia will automatically be involved which complicates things further. To die without a Will means a more challenging, time consuming and expensive process for your loved ones.
For more information on intestacy, continue reading at What are the Implications of Dying Without a Will.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process whereby the executor (if there is a Will) or administrator (if there is no Will) obtains a legal document commonly referred to as a Grant that confirms you are legally authorized to act for the estate and enables you to deal with the estate assets. Without probate, other people or institutions may refuse to recognize your authority over the estate assets.
For more information on probate, continue reading at What Exactly is Probate.
What are probate fees?
In addition to the basic application fee ($200), probate fees are approximately 1.4% of the gross value of the estate assets. More specifically, there is no probate fee for the first $25,000. In between $25,000 and $50,000, the fee is 0.6%. And for amounts over $50,000, the fee is 1.4%.
For more information on probate fees in BC, continue reading at Common Estate Planning Myths.
What is an executor of a will?
The responsibilities of an executor are significant. One key duty is to obtain a Grant to officially authorize you to deal with the estate assets. The executor must carry out the directions in the Will and settle the deceased’s affairs and is accountable to the beneficiaries and those entitled to benefit from an estate. Because duties are numerous, it may be helpful to consult a lawyer to get a picture of exactly what your duties will be.
For more information on executors, continue reading at What Exactly Does an Executor Do.
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