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Probating Real Estate In Alberta

What To Know What Probating An Estate With Real Estate

Probating real estate is usually the biggest question when administering the estate of someone who passed away. As a firm that deals with both real estate law and estates law, our lawyers assist many clients get through this process. Consistently, the family home frequently represents the estates single most expensive asset. Further, the home also frequently represents the asset that requires the most work to maintain until the estate is finalized. Below, we outline the questions we hear the most often from executors (or personal representatives) during probate to help make things easier for you. The estates lawyers at Kahane Law office, with offices in both Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, provide a no charge consultation to help you determine both if the estate requires probate, and the best course to take if it is necessary.

Free Consultations For Probating Real Estate

Normally, we want to give you information first, however, we want you to know you are not alone. We offer free consultations to determine if you need to probate an estate or not. Further, we let you know the next steps to take whether or not you require probate. Feel free to call or email anytime.

Understanding Alberta Probate

For ease of reference, we outline the steps for probating real estate here. However, if someone dies without a will, the process goes by a different name (Letters of Administration). For simplicity sake, the process is similar enough to probate. Probating real estate means that you make an application to the Surrogate Court. The application present the court with the last will of a person. The application also sets out the debts, assets, beneficiaries, proof of required notices, etc as set out in the will. It is this grant of probate that allows the personal representative to administer the estate form a legal standpoint.

Requirements For Probating Real Estate

Real property represents one of the few assets that the law requires probate for. Other significant assets, such as a large bank account, financial institutions require the grant of probate as a banking policy. Legally, they still retain the ability to transfer any amount of money from the estate’s bank account(s). The Land Titles Act and Regulations in Alberta legally require probate to transfer real property out of an estate. For this reason, if an estate owns any real property, no other option exists in terms of probating real estate. The Land Titles Office requires an original of this document to effect the transfer.

What Is Real Estate?

Real estate also has several other names. For example, real estate includes real property, real estate, titled land, etc. For the purposes of the Alberta Land Titles Act real estate includes any interest in land. Some types of property confuse people when it comes to determining if it classifies as land. For instance, a modular or trailer home is not considered land, however, if it sits on titled property owned by the estate it does. Other types of land also fall under this category. For example, the land as real estate includes the following, if owned by an estate:

  • Principal residences;
  • Rental properties;
  • Commercial land;
  • Agricultural property;
  • Recreational property;
  • Titled leasehold interests;
  • Bare land; and lastly
  • Condominiums.

Time You Need Not Probate For Land

Two main situations exist where no requirement for probating real estate exists. These exemptions are not absolute but are the norm. For example, the below scenarios most often require no grant of probate.

Land Owned As Joint Tenants

In situations where ownership of land is in joint tenants, the land reverts to the surviving joint tenant. This means that the land never becomes a part of the estate. Consequently, no need exists for probating the estate for the land. Many risks exist for people who attempt to avoid probating real estate by putting property into joint tenants. Always speak to a lawyer before doing so.

Land Held By A Corporation

If someone dies, owning a corporation that owns land, then the land remains in the name of the corporation. The change in ownership of the corporation often occurs without probate. Even if the corporation sells the land, anyone with signing authority may execute the required documents without probate. Always discuss if you need the grant of probate to avoid personal liability in these situations.

How Long Does Probate Take

Part of the reason people tried to avoid probate was the time it took to get the Grant. However, the laws in Alberta changed to make this faster and easier. Now, when probating real estate, an option exists for the estate to apply for a limited grant of probate. This limited grant allows for the sale of land. The sale proceeds then sit in the estates bank account until the court issues the final grant. The process is fast and efficient. Often the legal right to sign for the estate is available within weeks not months. In terms of cost, the additional fees for this application are nominal. For example, where a normal application for an order for a uncomplicated estate often takes 3-4 months, the limited grant is often issued withing 2-3 weeks.

When Can I Start Probating Real Estate?

The answer is right away, however, no requirement exists for it to start right away. We often receive calls within days of someone passing about starting probate. We are happy to start right away but we tell clients that it is important to take the time they need for dealing with the stress and emotions of their loss first. Look after your family. The executor should not wait an unreasonable amount of time, but there is no rush. When ready, our wills and estates lawyers jump in to help. Due to the amount of work and cost in maintaining a home, most people want to start probating real estate relatively quickly.

The Help You Need For The Fast Probating Of Real Estate

With quick, friendly and cost effective service, Kahane Law Office helps with probating real estate in both the Calgary and Edmonton areas. Our team recognizes the stress and emotion that comes with dealing with an estate. Our goal is to take on the legal pressures. If you find yourself as executor or personal representative of an estate that owns any type of land, call today. If you live in the Calgary area call (403) 225-8810, If in Edmonton or surrounding area, call (780) 571-8463. Lastly, for faster service and to allow us to send you more information, please feel free to email us. We get back to you the same or next business day.