Legal Guidance for Probate Administration
The main types of court orders assigning an estate administrator are called Grant of Probate and Grant of Administration. These provide the ultimate authority for administering estates. Without them, you may be limited in what can be administered.
Generally, the court orders are distinguished as follows:
- Grant of Probate is obtained when the deceased leaves a Will, but there are still questions regarding the estate.
- Grant of Administration is obtained when the deceased did not leave a valid Will naming a personal representative.
Administering an estate refers to the work required to deal with the deceased person’s assets and debts. The person responsible for this is usually named in a Will as a personal representative. There are many instances where personal representatives administer an estate and do not need to obtain court orders. However, sometimes it is necessary to obtain a Grant of Probate or a Grant of Administration. Whether you need a court order or not depends on the details of the estate you are administering, and an experienced estate lawyer will advise you.
In general, any property that is not owned jointly or has named beneficiaries, such as insurance policies or RRSPs, may require a court order for administering it as part of the estate.
Court orders are often obtained in these scenarios:
- The deceased person died without leaving Will
- The Will does not name a personal representative
- The personal representatives named in the Will are not willing or able to take on the responsibility of administering an estate
- The deceased owned property in Alberta but did not live in the Province
It is also helpful to obtain a Grant of Probate if the estate is complex with many assets and beneficiaries. The complexity is increased if the beneficiaries include corporations, businesses or other non-individuals, among many other situations. It may also be helpful to obtain a court order if anyone may challenge the Will or validity of the Will.
Administering an estate is challenging and often entails unforeseen circumstances. This is compounded by the emotional grief of losing a loved one. If you are wondering whether or not you need a court order for your estate administration, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an assessment by experienced estate lawyers.