Dealing with the New BC Probate Rules

How to make the forms work for you

Dealing with the New BC Probate Rules

In conjunction with the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act, Rules 21-4 and 21-5 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules were repealed and replaced by Supreme Court Civil Rules, Part 25.

Part 25 introduced new forms for estate proceedings. While these forms now provide a standardized application process aimed at making the probate process more accessible to the public, the forms are not as intuitive and user-friendly as one might have hoped. Although it might be tempting to make minor amendments to the forms to fix grammatical issues or improve syntax, try to resist. It is time-consuming and frustrating for the registry staff who must comb through your documents to see if the changes are substantive.

In some circumstances, however, amendments to the forms are unavoidable: to correct errors, to suit the specific facts of the estate or simply to remove irrelevant sections.

The following is a summary of some (by no means all) of the more common amendments that will need to be made:

  • Form P2: Submission for Estate Grant. Each paragraph has multiple options; delete any options not selected. When providing information about the deceased, list all aliases in which the deceased held property and indicate the property held in each name. Do not use “N/A” if there is no person or property fitting a particular description – use “Nil” or “None.” Applications using “N/A” are being consistently bounced by most registries.
  • Form P9: Affidavit of Delivery. Each person who receives notice must be listed in the P9 Affidavit of Delivery, and it is helpful to add a descriptor identifying each person’s relationship to the testator. Although there is no designated space for including the date on which notice was sent, it must be added to the form so that the registry can calculate the 21-day notice period. In addition, the Rules referred to under “Delivery Information” are incorrect and must be changed: the reference to Rule 25-3(2) in column 2 should be 25-2(2) and the reference to Rule 25-3(6), (8) or (10) in column 3 should be Rule 25-2(8), (11) or (12). It is important to note that this affidavit must be sworn by the person who actually puts the envelope in the mail – the registry will not accept an amendment to the affidavit stating that the person swearing the affidavit “caused the notice to be mailed” as was formerly standard practice.
  • Form P10: Affidavit of Assets and Liabilities for Domiciled Estate. The value of all property of the deceased, along with the liabilities that charge or encumber that property, must be disclosed on this form. The registries will no longer accept “To be Determined” as an asset value. If third parties refuse to provide asset information, the incomplete application will need to be filed along with a Form P18: Authorization to Obtain Estate Information.
  • There is no form of supplementary affidavit provided for circumstances such as an application to dispense with notice. Wherever a supplementary affidavit is required, Form P4 can be used as a template and then amended to suit the scenario at hand.

If you are in doubt about whether a particular amendment to the forms will be acceptable to the registry, consult your fellow practitioners. We are all working hard to master the new forms and should provide assistance and support to our colleagues in these uncertain times.