Garton & Harris

Estate administration can be simple

Estate administration is something that every person needs to think about, no matter what type of assets they have, small or large. To the people that you will be leaving your assets to, it is important. No matter if it is the family china or a successful company, if you leave a clear path that your heirs can follow, there is really no greater gift you can give them.

What happens if you don't have a copy of the will and you need it? When a person dies in British Columbia and they have involved a lawyer to help, this document will be available from that legal representative and may even be filed at the Superior Court of Justice. Anyone can look at it because it is public record once it is filed with the court. There may be a small fee to get a copy but again, it is available to everyone who wants to see it.

If no estate planning has been done, you will need a letter of administration or an application for letters probate. This may be called a certificate of estate trustee with a will. It is filed with the Superior Court of Justice in the county or district that the deceased lived in and owned property in.

So many times, you think that your heirs will work through the necessary details of the estate you have left behind without fighting or arguing. It may happen, but the opposite usually occurs. They believe that you meant to leave the silver to them, and they will take the case to court if they see someone else claiming this item. Do you really want this to happen?

Knowing that you have left a clear picture for your heirs is so important. This saves infighting and argument at a time when they need to be celebrating your life.

Source: Government of Canada, "Coquitlam wills and estate administration," accessed Sep. 19, 2015

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