Do you know what probate is? In this video, Kelley Doerksen, CFP® explains what it is as well as when and why it might be needed. You will also learn about some of the outcomes that happen whether you apply for it or not.
Watch the video here:
We are going to discuss probate – when and why it might be needed and some of the outcomes of obtaining probate or not.
Probate is simply the process of applying to the courts to validate the will of the deceased. The will does give the executor the authority to administer the estate, however probate can be really important to again, validate with certainty that the will is the final will of the deceased and the executor has full authority.
Many financial institutions will not allocate out assets according to a will alone, especially if there are no named beneficiaries; so for a non-registered account, etc. there often needs to be a process of going through probate in order for those institutions to feel confident that the residuals or the assets being provided are going to the proper beneficiaries and the executor has the authority to request this.
So, for some estates, probate is not necessary, but for many estates it is.
Probate also starts a period of time for a limitation where those who might want to challenge the validity of the will, will have the time and an end point with which to do that. If probate is not applied for, the limitation period never starts, and so therefore, it theoretically does not end either.
Probate fee planning can be an important component of your overall estate plan. In Alberta, of course, probate fees are insignificant, however in other provinces, namely Ontario and BC, probate fees can be quite significant.
Be careful when you are working with probate fee planning or your goal might be to eliminate probate fees in your estate because there can be unintended consequences for your estate and beneficiaries, by engaging in probate fee planning.
Probate fee planning should be part of your overall estate planning goals and objectives, and your financial planner can help you understand and maybe even project out what your outcomes would be by trying to accomplish your probate fee planning you have in mind; and perhaps provide you with some alternatives or other suggestions if the outcome is not what you intend.
Absolutely vital to estate planning, of course, is writing a valid will with a lawyer who understands your goals and objectives. Including your financial planner and involving them in the conversations with your lawyer can be beneficial in understanding by both parties and yourself how you would like to see your goals accomplished.
If you would like us to be involved, or have any questions about how your beneficiary designations or other goals and objectives for your estate needs are going to be met, please reach out to us and we are happy to help.