Executors often find that the probate process can be both time consuming and expensive. Planning strategies exist that may eliminate or reduce the requirement of having assets probated.
What is probate?
Probate is a legal procedure that validates a deceased’s will and confirms the executor’s authority to carry out the testator’s wishes. This provides assurance to third parties such as financial institutions and land registry offices that the executor has the power to deal with assets according to the will.
Are all wills subject to probate?
There is no requirement that every will must be probated. Proper planning can eliminate the need for probate and also, the type of asset involved will generally dictate whether or not probate is required.
What is the cost of probate?
What are advantages toprobate?
What are the disadvantages to probate?
7 Tips to avoid probate
There are a number of strategies to, if not avoid probate entirely, reduce the value of the assets that would otherwise be exposed to probate.
To avoid the unintended future inclusion of these assets in your estate if the named beneficiary dies, you should consider naming a successor (contingent) beneficiary;
Named beneficiaries also provide a confidential transfer. The exception to this is in Saskatchewan where probate rules dictate that beneficiaries to insurance products be listed even though the proceeds are not subject to probate;
The strategy of multiple wills is not available in all provinces and the use of multiple wills may create problems with the new Graduated Rate Estate tax with respect to testamentary trusts.
Please note that legislation governing probate and the fees that are levied vary by province so not all the ideas presented here will apply to every province. This article does not apply to the province of Quebec.Careful planning is advisable with all estate planning considerations and it is important to seek professional advice when considering these strategies.
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