Probate can be frustrating, especially if we’re still grieving the death of a loved one. And since Probate is still a mystery to most of us, we try to figure out ways to wiggle out of it. However, trying to avoid Probate may bring scarier legal issues your way than if you had gone through it in the first place. To illustrate this, read how Gina considers and discusses alternatives to avoid Probate for her sons.
It’s been just over a year since Tommy died. Gina, while still grieving for her late husband, has been executing Tommy’s Will. It’s been more time-consuming than she had originally thought, mainly due to the fact she had to apply for Probate because of Tommy’s share of his parents’ lake cabin. It took five months for Probate Court to approve the application. This experience is something she wants to alleviate, or eliminate altogether, for her sons.
She went to see her lawyer to discuss updating her Estate Documents, and to get some clarity regarding the Probate issue. She explained that her neighbours put their children as joint land title owners so they wouldn’t have to deal with Probate when they died—the house would just shift to them. Gina felt if she gave her younger son (who is more financially responsible) joint land title ownership, he wouldn’t have to apply for Probate when she died. He would just split the estate evenly with his older brother.
The problem is that her younger son is going through a divorce. Gina discovered that if he was made joint owner, the house would be considered an asset and he would have to split this with his future ex-wife even though Gina is still alive. If she named both of her sons as joint owners, it would solve that problem, but another may arise: her older son may not want to sell the house he grew up in because it holds sentimental value. Plus, he hasn’t the finances to pay his brother his share of the house.
After talking with her lawyer, she decided not to name either son as joint land title owners. It would be easier if they went through Probate Court. Her sons may find it tedious and time-consuming, but in the long run, there would be less arguments, litigation, and stress, and that was the main goal for Gina from the beginning.
Weary & Co. Law Office hope you enjoyed and gleamed some important information from Tommy and Gina’s Estate Planning journey. If you have any questions regarding your Estate Documents, we would be happy to talk with you. And remember, stop ‘living on a prayer’ because letting fate sort everything out usually doesn’t go well. A clear and thorough Estate Plan will alleviate stress and potential litigation for your loved ones.
Did You Know?
In Alberta, the fee payable to the Court for a Probate Application is based on the value of the estate, currently to a maximum of $525. Unlike many other provinces, where the Court fee is a percentage of the value of the estate. Remember – legal fees are always a separate amount. And a Probate Application is typically a desk application, meaning that no one has to physically attend court.
Weary & Co Law Office
400, 30 Green Grove
780 459 5596