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Probate Fees
When it comes to settling a person's estate, banks, trust companies, and other financial institutions will want to make sure the will is valid and legal before they transfer any assets. As a result, they often ask for probate, or court approval, of your will.

To obtain a grant of probate, your executor will submit the will, a list of your assets - including their current market value - and the probate application to the provincial court. This process can take several weeks.

Click below to download a probate fee schedule.


Probate Fee Schedule

In addition to being a lengthy process, here are a number of things to consider with probate

Strategies for Minimizing Probate Fees

There are a number of methods you can use to decrease probate fees on your estate. Since probate fees are assessed based on the value of your estate, most methods involve passing assets directly to others without them having been included in your estate.

Some examples include:

  • making your spouse the beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF
  • naming beneficiaries of life insurance policies
  • holding certain assets jointly
  • setting up trusts
  • Life Insurance Policies
Often people make their estate beneficiary of their insurance policy, but doing so leaves the proceeds subject to probate fees. It is better to name an adult person beneficiary so the proceeds do not pass through your estate but go directly to that person.

Registered Plans (RRSPs)

If your spouse is named as beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF, the proceeds can be rolled over to them directly without going through probate.

Joint Accounts


Hold your bank accounts and investment portfolios jointly with your spouse or other beneficiary so assets will automatically pass to the survivor. The status of your accounts should be: Joint tenancy with right of survivorship.

Joint Tenancy

If you own your home jointly, it will pass directly to the surviving partner without probate.

Trusts

Consider transferring assets to a trust while you are alive. Assets held in a living trust are not included in your estate because they are no longer your property.

Assets bequeathed to your spouse will be subject to probate fees when he or she dies. To avoid paying probate fees twice, you may want to set up a spousal trust in your will so the assets pass directly to your children when your spouse dies.
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