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Probating a will in Alberta: Initial Steps

Probating is the legal process of validating a will and giving an executor the authority to act on the deceased’s behalf. This process is required in most circumstances, and you should consult a probate lawyer even if the will is not complicated. While in some circumstances a will may not need to be probated; only a lawyer can tell you for certain.


For their protection, banks, trust companies and other financial institutions need proof that an individual is the executor of an estate before turning over funds to them. If there’s no will, assets are divided in accordance with Alberta estate law, and family members can apply to be administrators of the estate.

Let’s look at the first steps of probating a will, a process that begins with submitting an application to the Surrogate Court, a part of the Court of the Queen’s Bench of Alberta.


  1. Review the will

    You need to ensure that the will is valid, in force and that you have the originally executed copy. For a will to be in force, it has to be the last will that the testator has created in most circumstances.A valid will must meet the following conditions:

    - It was written by a person over 18 years of age (except in certain special circumstances) who is mentally competent.- The deceased signed the document (or directed someone else to sign the will on their behalf) and two people witnessed the signature.
    - Any and all amendments were signed and witnessed with the same formality as the will
    - In certain circumstances a handwritten will without witnesses can be valid, this is referred to as a holograph will.
  2. Completing the application for a Grant of Probate

    The application for a Grant of Probate is an extensive set of forms, that varies based both on the nature of the deceased’s will, or lack thereof, the deceased’s family history and the assets that the deceased owned at the time of death. While the basic form can be obtained from the Alberta Queen’s Printer, to correctly fill out the forms, you’ll need to compile a large amount of information in a specific format in order that the application is not rejected. This involves the executor gathering information about the deceased’s family members, marriages, common law unions and assets.
  3. Submitting the application for a Grant of Probate

    Once the forms are completed, your lawyer will submit the formal application for a Grant of Probate in the Surrogate Court of the Court of the Queen’s Bench in the judicial district where the deceased last lived.

    Probate lawyers in Calgary


    Applying for probate is challenging. In addition to its administrative complexity, the process can be emotionally difficult and create or exacerbate tensions between family members. Hiring a probate lawyer ensures that everyone’s rights are respected, expedites the process and prevents issues like lawsuits and rejection of the will by the court. If you’re looking for a skilled wills and probate lawyer in Calgary to help you through the process of executing a will, contact us at First West Law LLP.
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