Is it Always Necessary to Probate a Will in Alberta?

After the death of a loved one or family member, you might be feeling overwhelmed by the legal process involved. Catherine Young, the founder of One80Law, is a specialist in Wills & Probate law in Alberta. In this article she discusses when and why you might need to have a Will probated to help guide you through this challenging time.


What is Probate?

Probate is the legal term for the process of reviewing a Will to determine whether it is valid and authentic. If you want to read more about what Probate is, our earlier article about how to probate a Will in Alberta should be helpful. 

Now that you know more about the process and costs, you might be wondering “Do I have to go through this Probate process?” In fact, the answer is no – Probate is not always required. 


Did the deceased jointly own property? 

If the deceased person owned real estate jointly with another person then Probate might not be required. 

Take the example of a married couple. They owned a residential property together, and they were shown on the title deeds as “Joint Tenant Owners”. This type of ownership means that their legal intention is to pass their share of the property automatically over to the surviving partner upon their death. 

If that piece of real estate is the only asset of the deceased, then there is no reason to obtain Probate. 


What about other kinds of assets? 

This rule also applies to other kinds of assets which can be jointly owned, like cars or bank accounts. 

Where there are two people who are registered as joint owners of that bank account or vehicle, then Probate would not be required for ownership to pass to the other person. 


When Probate will be required:

In the following situations, Probate will be required so please contact us to discuss the estate: 

  1. If the deceased person did not have a Will,
  2. If the deceased person owned property (real estate, cars or had a bank account) in their name alone,
  3. If they owned other assets in their name alone, 
  4. If they had creditors or debts which were outstanding at the time of death, 
  5. If the will is invalid.


This is not an exhaustive list and as always, we recommend speaking to a legal professional for advice about your specific situation. Your first consultation with our Probate and Administration lawyer is free, so please book an appointment online.