Garton & Harris

Administration of wills in British Columbia

When a person dies with a will in British Columbia, the court may grant probate of the will or administration of the estate upon a showing of several things. First, the court will need to make a determination that the will offered for probate is valid. The court will also need to find that the decedent was a resident in British Columbia when he or she died, was not a resident or domiciliary of British Columbia but left property behind in the province or that the person was outside of the province but the personal representative who will be a party to the action is within the province and an action has been opened.

Provincial courts may open a probate action even in cases in which the decedent was not ordinarily domiciled in British Columbia and left no property in the province. The action may commence if probate of the will in the province is unopposed and if it is made according to the applicable civil rules of the Supreme Court.

If a will does not address all of the property held by the estate, the court may order probate of the will according to its terms and intestate succession for the property that is outside of the will. If the named executor does not wish to administer the will, the court may allow a beneficiary to step into the role upon the beneficiary's application.

The probate of wills may be complex, especially when the testator died with property both inside and outside of the province. It is important for people who have wills to review them regularly to make certain they accurately reflect all of the property owned and the intended beneficiaries. People who need assistance with their wills may want to meet with a wills and estates lawyer.

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