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Carrying Out Final Wishes

What do I need to know about wills and estates?

The intent of the 2014 Wills, Estates and Succession Act was to modernize estate law in the province while also making the probate process easier for the public.

Probate is needed as per the policies of the financial institutions or agencies holding the assets that are part of a deceased person's estate. Some agencies require executors to apply for representation grants that formally recognize them as official representatives of the estates. To learn if you need these grants, you must contact the institution and see what their requirements are.

Sometimes, a close friend or relative dies but no one was named administrator because there was no will. When that occurs, someone needs to make application to be named the administrator. The following conditions must apply:

-- The deceased failed to name an executor.

-- The executor renounced his or her right to make application to the courts for probate.

-- The named executor is also deceased now and there is no alternate executor named.

Once applied for, the grant of administration can then be issued that appoints the applicant as administrator. Some administrators are surprised at the mundane tasks they must carry out, such as canceling magazine or Internet subscriptions or making sure that beloved pets are taken care of and rehomed. Yet those are just some of the duties of an estate administrator.

Many estate administrators choose to retain lawyers to apply for the representation grants. It's important to note that legal expenses can be billed to the estate and paid out of the proceeds. This is especially important if there is a challenge to a will by some of the heirs or beneficiaries.

At all of the Supreme Court registries in the province there are Probate Divisions that receive, process and verify the representation grant applications. You can file your application for the representation grant in any of the Supreme Court registries.

Source: British Columbia, "Wills and estates," accessed June 03, 2016

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