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Letters Probate

Letters Probate formally recognize that a Will is valid and that an Executor is entitled to deal with the estate.

Letters Probate may not always be needed. If the deceased left any real property they are needed. Other than that they are needed if the institution, such as a bank, requires them before they release funds to the Executor for distribution.

There is an Application for Probate package available from the Courts of Saskatchewan. This package has the forms you need to apply for Letters Probate and shows how they should be filled out. The package can only be used when there is a Will that names an Executor and the Will was witnessed by two people. Information kits may also be available at your nearest Court of Queen's Bench.

The Court requires several documents before granting Letters Probate. These documents must be signed before a Commissioner for Oaths. In Saskatchewan, lawyers are also Commissioners for Oaths. If a lawyer has prepared the documents, their signature will be sufficient. If someone other than a lawyer has prepared the documents, you can find a Commissioner for Oaths by looking through the yellow pages of the phone book, online directories or checking with the courthouse.

The following documents must be filed with the Court before Letters Probate can be issued...

  • Affidavit of Execution of Will with Original Will Attached: one of the witnesses to the Will must swear an Affidavit stating that they witnessed the testator's signature. If neither witness can be located, the Court may accept proof by analysis of the signature of the testator or one of the witnesses.
  • Application for Grant of Probate: includes information about the deceased and beneficiaries, the date of death and a request for Probate of the Will.
  • Affidavit of Executor: a document sworn by the Executor that requests Probate from the Court and contains promises by the Executor to properly administer the estate.
  • Statement of Property: a statement which outlines in detail all the known assets of the deceased which are to be administered by the Executor and their value at the date of death and a statement that lists the description and estimated value of property of the deceased that does not form part of the estate, such as jointly owned property and items payable to a named beneficiary under particular documents, such as life insurance policies, RRSP's and annuities.
  • Notification to the Public Guardian and Trustee that there are beneficiaries under the age of 18 or dependant adults with an interest in the estate (if applicable).
  • Certificate that there are no persons under 18 years with an interest in the estate (if applicable).

Documents and required fees must be submitted for filing with the Registrar of the Court. A Judge will review all the documents and grant Letters Probate if everything is in order. Although there is no requirement, in many cases a lawyer's assistance will be needed to probate the Will.

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