When you lose a loved one, it is important to be aware of where they hold assets so that you are in a position to finalize all of their matters. If your loved one holds assets in both the province of British Columbia and another jurisdiction outside of British Columbia, you may find yourself needing to obtain a grant of probate that is recognized in more than one province, state or country. The main grant of probate is obtained in the jurisdiction where your loved one resided and held the majority of assets for estate administration purposes, and a resealed grant of probate is obtained for any other jurisdiction assets are held. Resealing allows you to deal with assets that are situs in British Columbia that require probate, which is usually an interest in land, cash or investments without a designated beneficiary that are worth over $30,000.00. An example would be if your loved one resided in California, held assets there, and also held property and bank accounts in British Columbia. You would obtain a grant of probate from the Courts in California and then make an application to reseal the foreign grant in British Columbia so that you could deal with the assets in British Columbia.
Resealing a foreign grant of probate is the process of having the Supreme Court in British Columbia giving legal recognition and validating a grant of probate from another jurisdiction. The jurisdictions that are recognized by our British Columbia Supreme Court include any country that is a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, any state of the USA, or Hong Kong.
The process of resealing a foreign grant of probate can be long and daunting. This post will help you gather the correct information and get a better idea of what to expect when faced with this task. The following does not constitute legal advice. If you are faced with a challenging application, please consult one of our legal professionals.
The process of resealing an estate grant involves several steps to ensure that you are accounting for any and all assets and liabilities that are located within British Columbia, informing all beneficiaries, and providing the proper information to the Court. These steps are:
- Obtain a search for a Wills Notice from the Vital Statistics Agency to verify there are no other wills/codicils of the deceased (learn more here);
- Prepare and serve a Notice of Proposed Application on all beneficiaries and intestate successors of the deceased;
- Prepare and file the application for resealing, which includes a Submission for Resealing, Affidavit of Applicant, Affidavit of Delivery, and Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities; and
- Assist with the transmission of assets once the resealing grant has been issued by the Supreme Court of BC.
In order to fulfill these steps, there is specific information that you will need to compile. You will need to note:
- All particulars of the deceased including full name, date and place of birth, date and place of death, last address, copy of the Will and a copy of the death certificate;
- Details of each beneficiary named in the Will, including full name, address, and relationship to deceased;
- Details of spouse or common-law partner including full name, address, details of relationship, and current status;
- Details of all children of the deceased (whether living or predeceased), including full name, address, and date of birth;
- All assets and liabilities that are in BC held solely by the deceased with values as of the date of death;
- Name, address, and occupation of person making the application and their relationship to deceased; and
- Original or court-certified copy of the foreign grant of probate with Will attached. If the foreign grant does not have the Will attached, you will also need a court-certified copy of the Will of the deceased.
The cost of this application can vary. You will need to consider legal fees – which can range greatly depending on whether there are any issues with the application, disbursements, and probate fees.
The disbursements are approximately $500.00 which includes court filing application costs of $200.00, courier, postage, searches, etc.
The Court Probate fees are calculated by the Court based on the gross value of the estate assets that were located in British Columbia when the deceased died. If the estate has a gross value that is under $25,000, then no probate fees are payable. Otherwise, any estate in excess of $25,000 will be charged the following:
- $6 for each $1,000 (or part of $1,000) of the value of the estate in excess of $25,000, up to $50,000, and
- $14 for each $1,000 (or part of $1,000) of the value of the estate in excess of $50,000.
For example, if the gross value of an estate is $125,000, the probate fee will be $1,200, which is in addition to the Court filing application cost of $200.00.
The time line for a resealing application can also vary depending on the availability of documents and the complexity of the application. The information gathering that needs to occur pre-filing usually takes between 1-2 months. Once the application is filed, it can take the Courts 2 – 3 months to review the application and issue a resealing grant. Given the fact that everything will be done from a distance and some documents will have to be produced as originals, it would be best to prepare for at least 6 months for completion of the application.