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Wills

Probate Rules

Probate rules vary with the type of property. This may be a consideration in making investment decisions. Real estate held in the name of the decedent that is to go to a child will have to go through probate. What is more, minor children cannot hold land. If the same property is held by a corporation with an independent existence and shares have been given to the child, there will be no probate for the property. Foreign property, say a condo in Florida, is subject to complex U.S. taxes unless it is held by a limited partnership or as an asset balanced by a mortgage issued on a basis on which the lender could only seize the property and not sue for deficiencies in the event of default. The knack is to minimize the equity subject to U.S. Estate Tax. Where assets have increased in value over their cost base, they are taxable in the amount of the gain less any depreciation.

Probate can be a costly and slow process. But it can be avoided for some assets. Life insurance policy distributions to named beneficiaries and, indeed, the assets within life insurance agreements, segregated funds, and certain annuities can all pass to designated beneficiaries without probate fees. Customarily, the proceeds of life insurance contracts that are paid to beneficiaries are regarded as the property of the beneficiaries and thus have no need to go into probate.

Provincial Probate/Verification Fees and Tax Chart

Province Estate Size Probate Fee
Alberta $0 to $10,000 $25
  $10,001 to $25,000 $100
  $25,001 to $125,000 $200
  $125,001 to $250,000 $300
  $250,001 & over $400
British Columbia $0 to $25,000 No Fee
  $25,001 to $50,000 $208 + $6 per $1,000 over $25,000
  $50,001 & over $358 + $14 per $1,000 over $50,000
Manitoba $0 to $10,000 $70
  $10,001 & over $70 + $7 per $1,000 over $10,000
New Brunswick $0 to $5,000 $25
  $5,001 to $10,000 $50
  $10,001 to $15,000 $75
  $15,001 to $20,000 $100
  $20,001 & over $5 per $1,000
Newfoundland $0 to $1,000 $60
  $1,001 & over $60 + $0.5 per $1,000 over $1,000
Northwest Territories $0 to $10,000 $25
  $10,001 to $25,000 $100
  $25,001 to $125,000 $200
  $125,001 to $250,000 $300
  $250,001 & over $400
Nova Scotia $0 to $10,000 $74.76
  $10,001 to $25,000 $187.97
  $25,001 to $50,000 $312.92
  $50,001 to $100,000 $875.76
  $100,001 & over $875.76 + $14.79 per $1,000 over $100,000
Nunavut $0 to $10,000 $25
  $10,001 to $25,000 $100
  $25,001 to $125,000 $200
  $125,001 to $250,000 $300
  $250,001 & over $400
Ontario $0 to $50,000 $5 per $1,000
  $50,001 & over $250 + $15 per $1,000 over $50,000
PEI $0 to $10,000 $50
  $10,001 to $25,000 $100
  $25,001 to $50,000 $200
  $50,001 to $100,000 $400
  $100,001 & over $400 + $4 per $1,000 over $100,000
Quebec Non-notarial $95
  wills Notarial wills $0
Saskatchewan All estates $7 per $1,000
Yukon $0 to $24,999 $0
  $25,000 & over $140

*Fees are a tax

Important Notes

Some provinces may also charge filing fees and other administrative costs. Provincial legislation must be reviewed to understand all applicable fees and costs.

The value of estate is calculated according to the rules of each province which may or may not allow deductions for such things as specific debts or property (real or personal) located outside the province.

Fees may be payable in more than one province.

Chart valid as of September 2013 - subject to change where amendments to provincial legislation and regulations occurs.