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If you are an executor of an estate and are trying to work through probate, you know how difficult the process can be.

Unless there are certain circumstances, you generally need to go through probate before you can distribute the estate. However, there are ways where it is possible to avoid probate, making the whole process easier.

Want to know more? Keep reading, and we'll walk you through it all.


Probate is a legal process that happens after someone passes away. It's a way to make sure the person's assets are distributed fairly to their heirs or beneficiaries.

To start the probate process, someone has to apply for a "grant of probate."

This is a document from a court that gives the executor (the person in charge of the estate) the legal right to manage and distribute the assets of the deceased.

The executor's first job is to gather all the assets of the deceased person and create an inventory.

They also have to pay off any debts the person had. Then, the executor distributes the assets to the people named in the will or, if there is no will, to the person's heirs according to state law.

Probate can be a complicated and lengthy process, sometimes taking months or even years.

It can also be expensive, as there are often legal and court fees. But probate is important to ensure that the deceased person's wishes are carried out and that their assets are distributed fairly.


Not all assets of a deceased person are subjected to probate. If you have a well-planned estate, your heirs might not need to go through the probate process.

For instance, if you have a jointly owned property, the ownership would automatically pass to the surviving owner. Caution should be taken before adding someone as a joint owner of your property.

Assets held in a trust or assets designated as payable-on-death or transfer-on-death would not need probate. They pass outside of the probate process directly to the beneficiaries.

Creating an estate plan is the key to avoiding probate.

You can appoint someone to handle your affairs and name your beneficiaries, and set up trusts or designate beneficiaries on assets like retirement accounts or bank accounts.

By doing so, you can ensure that your estate is settled quickly, efficiently, and without the need for probate. It also helps you avoid the associated costs and delays of probate, which can be burdensome to your heirs.


It can be difficult to know when probate is not necessary.

Keep in mind that assets that you hold in a trust do not need probate. You will also not need probate for assets that you've designated as payable on death or transfer on death.

Are you looking to hire a law firm to help you understand probate law? If so, First West Law LLP in Calgary can help you. Don't hesitate to reach out to us to get started today!


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