Depending on whether the deceased had a will (died testate) or did not have a will (died intestate), different procedures must be followed if a representation grant is required.
If the deceased made a will, the deceased appointed an executor to deal with his or her estate. The executor will apply to the court for a grant of probate of the deceased’s will.
If there is no will, provincial law determines who is entitled to apply to the court to deal with the deceased’s estate. The person who will apply to the court in these circumstances is known as the administrator. The administrator will apply for a grant of administration of the estate.
If your family member or friend left an estate in British Columbia that is the subject of a foreign representation grant, an application can be made to the court to reseal the grant or obtain what is called an ancillary grant of probate or administration thereby making the foreign representation grant effective to deal with the assets of the estate in British Columbia.
The executor or administrator are the personal representatives of the estate. The representation grant gives the personal representative exclusive authority to administer the estate or that part of the estate to which the representation grant applies.
Representation Grants include:
- a grant of probate of the deceased’s will
- a grant of administration of the deceased’s estate
- a resealed grant of probate or administration which was granted in a jurisdiction outside of British Columbia
- a grant of probate or administration which is ancillary to the one granted in a jurisdiction outside of British Columbia.
Applications for a Grant
To obtain a representation grant, the executor or administrator must apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. While the documents required to be filed with the court for each application differ, most representation grant applications include the following documents:
- a Wills Search
- the originally signed Will, if any
- a Notice in Form P1 to be sent to the beneficiaries under a will and those persons who under provincial law are entitled to share in the estate if there is no will (intestate successors)
- an affidavit regarding delivery of the Notice
- an affidavit setting out the assets, liabilities and distribution of the deceased’s estate
- a submission in form P2
- a bank draft or money order in the amount of $200 payable to the Minister of Finance
Resealed and Ancillary Grants
On application, the Court may reseal a foreign grant made in another province or in a territory of Canada or in another prescribed jurisdiction. If a foreign grant of probate or administration does not qualify for resealing, the Court may grant an ancillary grant of probate or administration.
The resealed or ancillary grant is necessary for the executor or administrator to deal with certain assets of the estate in British Columbia such as real estate.
Timeframe for Obtaining a Representation Grant
An executor or administrator cannot file an application for a grant until at least 21 days have elapsed between the date upon which the beneficiaries or intestate successors have received or acknowledged receipt of the executor or administrator’s Notice of Application in Form P1 and a copy of the deceased’s will, if any.
Depending upon the location of the court registry in which the application is made, it can take from 3 weeks to several months before the court registry staff review an application, request additional information, if any, and determine the amount of additional probate fees payable.
Once the requested additional information is provided and the balance of the probate fees are paid, the court registry usually issues the grant in approximately one week to ten days.
In order to obtain a grant, the executor or administrator must pay probate fees to the Minister of Finance in British Columbia. These fees are based upon the gross value of the deceased’s estate in British Columbia.
As noted above, the applicant must provide a bank draft or money order payable to the Minister of Finance in the amount of $200 when submitting the application.
Once the application is approved but before a grant is issued, additional probate fees must be paid. If the gross value of the estate is over $25,000, an additional fee of $6 is charged for each $1,000 in value between $25,000 and $50,000 and $14 for each $1,000 over $50,000.
On an estate having a value of $1,000,000, the fees would be $13,650 representing $200 for the first $25,000, $150 for the next $25,000 ($6 per $1,000) and $13,300 for the next $950,000 ($14 per $1,000).
If you retain a lawyer to assist you in making an application for a representation grant, the lawyer may either charge a set fee or an hourly rate plus provincial sales tax (PST) and federal goods and services tax (GST) depending upon the complexity of the application.
In addition, you will be charged for disbursements for a Will’s Search, Land Title Office searches if required, courier fees and miscellaneous out of pocket expenses together with any applicable taxes.