Applications for Representation Grants (Probate or Administration)
A representation grant includes a grant of probate, any grant of administration or the resealing of a grant. Any person applying for a representation grant is required to send written notice to the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT), if any person to whom notice must be given is, or may be, mentally incapable. The list of persons to whom notice must be given includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- a person who is at least equally entitled to apply for a representation grant as executor;
- a person who is at least equally entitled to apply for a representation grant as administrator;
- a person who is a beneficiary under the will;
- an intestate successor;
- a spouse of the deceased; or
- a child of the deceased.
If the person has a committee of estate appointed, notice must be delivered to the committee of estate and the PGT. If the person does not have a committee, notice must be delivered to the person and to the PGT.
The PGT requires details of all debts of the deceased’s estate, as well as the intended distribution of the estate.
The applicant should ensure that:
- all necessary information has been provided, including all the documents that will be filed in court;
- all documents are properly executed;
- if there is a will, it is the most recent will;
- the applicant is the proper person to make the application;
- all consents or renunciations have been obtained if the application is made by someone other than the first person entitled to apply;
- if the applicant is not an executor named in a will, proper security arrangements have been considered;
- if any claims are anticipated to be made against the estate, the applicant will not be placed in a conflict of interest; and
- the PGT review fee has been submitted.
Once notice and copies of all the probate documents have been received, the PGT will review the documents on behalf of the person who is or may be incapable, seek further information or clarification as required, and then provide comments for the court. The PGT comments will be delivered to the applicant and the applicant must file the PGT’s comments with the court. The Wills, Estates and Succession Act provides that the court must not issue the representation grant before receiving the PGT’s comments.
The PGT charges a fee, set out in the Public Guardian and Trustee Fees Regulation, for reviewing applications for representation grants. The fee is payable on receipt of the application for review.
The applicant must send the PGT a copy of the representation grant within 45 days of the grant being issued by the court. The PGT may follow up with the applicant to determine if the person requires assistance in managing their share of the estate.
Information for the Applicant
To provide notice via email, please send the documentation to email@example.com or via facsimile to 604.775.2429. Notices provided via email or facsimile are not considered delivered until acknowledged by the PGT.
Notice may be provided by hand delivery or mail, to the PGT at 700 – 808 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 3L3.
Wills Variation Actions
A spouse or child of the deceased person may apply to the court to vary the deceased’s will if the will does not make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children. Please see the Wills, Estates and Succession Act for definitions of spouse and child.
A wills variation action must be commenced within 180 days from the date of the representation grant and a copy of the notice of civil claim commencing an action to vary a will must be served on the PGT whenever a spouse or child of the will-maker is mentally incapable or a child of the will-maker is a minor.
The PGT may pursue a wills variation claim on behalf of an adult. In general, the same principles apply to wills variation proceedings brought by capable and incapable individuals; the only distinguishing factor is that adults who are mentally incapable may be more in need of financial support than those who are capable of managing their own affairs. The financial circumstances of the adult seeking to vary the will of a deceased person are considered by the court in determining whether the deceased will-maker made adequate provision for the adult in the will.
Review under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Hospital Act
Under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, a licensee, which includes an officer, director, agent, designate or employee, of a community care facility must not persuade or induce or attempt to persuade or induce a person in care or a resident to:
- make or alter their will;
- make a gift;
- provide a benefit for the licensee or a spouse, relative or friend of the licensee the above; or
- conduct the financial affairs of the person in care for the benefit of the licensee, the licensee's spouse, relative or friend.
A provision in a will, gift, or other benefit to a licensee, the licensee's spouse, relative or friend, is void unless the PGT gives written consent to it.
The PGT is mindful of the vulnerable situation in which persons in care or a resident of care facilities find themselves. PGT needs to be satisfied by the following:
- whether the will, gift or benefit was made without any inappropriate or undue influence being exerted on the person;
- that the person had the necessary capacity to make a will, gift or confer the benefit; and
- the circumstances are appropriate.
The PGT may contact the care facility, the witnesses to the will, any lawyer or notary public involved in drafting the will, and any medical staff, relatives, or service providers who may have information about the adult’s capability and the extent to which such a bequest, gift or other benefit was likely to be voluntary. Whether the circumstances are considered appropriate depends on many factors, such as the conduct of the management and staff of the care facility, the amount of the bequest absolutely and in relation to the entire estate, and whether there are dependents of the person whose reasonable expectations would be negatively affected by the bequests.
If the PGT is satisfied, it will provide a letter of consent.
Similar rules and procedures apply to employees of extended care facilities and private hospitals under the Hospital Act.