What is Probate?
Probate is a certificate from the Supreme Court notifying the world at large that the attached will is valid and enabling the executor to administer the estate. The document is proof of the executor’s authority to deal with assets of the deceased.
Why is probate necessary?
The deceased’s assets may be held by others, for example, a bank holding the deceased’s funds, a share registry holding the deceased’s shares, the Land Titles Office regulating the ownership and transfer of the deceased’s real estate. These assets holders may require probate before releasing the assets or transferring them in accordance with the will. The grant of probate confirms that the person seeking release of assets has authority to deal with them and this protects the asset holders against possible liability for handing assets over to the wrong person. This assists with the orderly and lawful succession of estates.
Can I deal with the deceased’s assets without Probate?
Asset holders will often release modest amounts without the need for probate to be obtained so long as they are indemnified for doing so. Banks and share registries will usually have an in house limit. Should the estate exceed that limit, then probate will be required. The Land Titles Office will always require a grant of probate or letters of administration.