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What Is the Difference Between A Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration

Many people are unclear about the difference between Letters of Administration and a Grant of Probate, but it is important to understand that the two are quite different. Probate vs. letters of Administration is not a matter of choice. You must follow the law. Fortunately, it’s simple to understand the distinction. Every province in Canada is different. Always ensure that if you live in Alberta, that you understand the process here. Kahane Law in Calgary can help. Our free consultation will let you definitely know the answer to the Probate vs. Letters of Administration issue. Call 403-225-8810 today.

What Are Letters of Administration?

If someone passes away and they die intestate, they will need to apply to the Surrogate Court for Letters of Administration. Dying intestate means that the individual does not have a will made before he or she dies. Those who die intestate will be subject to slightly different rules than those who are applying for a Grant of Probate. In determining the process between Probate vs. Letters of Administration, the existence of a will determines all. In this case, the courts will grant legal power to the correct people, as according to law, to help deal with the deceased’s estate.

Generally when an individual dies intestate, her or his spouse will have the right to be the first to apply for Letters of Administration. Most of the time, this is exactly what will happen. However, not all spouses know that they have this right. A lawyer will be able to help understand what you need to file and what your rights are in this case.

What Is A Grant Of Probate and Can You Avoid It?

When an executor is applying for a Grant of Probate, it means that the deceased died with a Will, but the Surrogate Court (of the Court of Queen’s Bench) has to ensure that the Will is legally valid. It is important to remember that the Probate laws in Canada vary from province to province. Not all wills require a Grant of Probate. It depends on what is in the will and how the deceased set up her or his affairs prior to their death. For example, when you name beneficiaries for life insurance, the money will go directly to the beneficiary named, and not through the estate. There are also times when the courts will be involved if there is conflict over the probating of the estate.

Another thing that people do as a means to avoid having to apply for Probate is holding their assets jointly. For example, real property when held as joint tenants has a right of survivorship. When one of the owners passes away, the survivor will take full ownership of the property. The home never forms part of the probate process in Alberta. There are always dangers in having joint ownership, so make sure to speak with a qualified Estate lawyer before combining assets to hold them jointly.

Probate Vs. Letters of Administration Not So Clear

There are times where there is a will but you will still need to apply for apply for letters of administration. Probate vs. letters of Administration maybe come a situation where you need both. For instance, if a will provides for gifting most, but not all of, an estate. Probate will be required for the assets listed in the will, while items that are not included will require a letters of administration.

How to Apply Probate vs. Letters of Administration

regardless of the Probate vs. Letters of Administration outcome, a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration applications are similar in contents and filing procedures. In Alberta, both are filed with the Surrogate Court (part of the Court of Queen’s Bench). This occurs in the judicial district where the deceased had her or his primary residence. It is possible for an Executor/Administrator to file the application on her or his own, however, the application is complex and nuanced and requires a level of understanding of the process and requirements.

Getting the Help You Need

Because there are so many variables when it comes to Probate vs. Letters of Administration applications, it is beneficial to have someone who knows the law. Working with an experienced estate lawyer can ensure that any potential issues are sorted out with the estate and that the application is completed and the Grant obtained in a timely manner. Kahane Law Office located in Calgary, Alberta is here to help with a free consultation. Call today. 403-225-8810 or email us directly here.