Generally, probate fees in British Columbia are assessed on the value of all of the deceased’s property situated in British Columbia that passes to the personal representative of the deceased. In addition, if the deceased was ordinarily resident in British Columbia immediately before the date of death, then the intangible personal property of the deceased, wherever situated, that passes to the personal representative at the time of the death, is also included in the calculation of probate fees.
This has two implications: 1) the deceased’s tangible personal or real property located outside of British Columbia is not included in the BC probate fees calculation, although the personal representative of the deceased has the obligation to disclose the deceased’s worldwide assets when applying for grant of probate in British Columbia, and 2) the property which does not pass to the personal representative is not included in the probate fees calculation, and such property does not need to be disclosed at the time of the grant application. For instance, real property held in joint tenancy would pass to the surviving owner on title, and does not fall to the estate of the deceased. Insurance proceeds for which a beneficiary has been designated in the insurance policy would be paid to the beneficiary directly, and does not fall to the estate of the deceased (unless the estate is the designated beneficiary, in which case the insurance proceeds become an estate asset which must be disclosed and for which probate fees would be paid).
In reviewing the probate application, the Probate Registry does not subject the listing of assets or valuations to any kind of collateral check. The Registry relies upon the sworn affidavit of the personal representative. If the value of certain asset is not known at the time of the probate application, then it is acceptable for the personal representative to reference this in the disclosure statement, which forms part of the personal representative’s affidavit. Once the value is known, the personal representative needs to update the probate with a supplementary affidavit, at which time additional probate fees are payable for the additional value of the estate.
The basic fee payable for submitting the probate application for the grant is $200.00. In addition to the basic application fee, the probate fees are calculated as follows:
- $6 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $25,000, up to $50,000, plus
- $14 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $50,000.
For example, if an estate has a gross value of $1,554,600, the total fee payable will be:
Basic Fee $200.00
(a) ($50,000 – $25,000) ÷ 1,000 x $6 = $150.00
(b) ($1,555,000 – $50,000) ÷ 1,000 x $14 = $21,070
If the value of the estate in British Columbia does not exceed $25,000, no probate fee is payable, and only the basic application fee of $200 is required. For large estate, it is possible to reduce probate fees with proper estate planning.