Administration of an Estate – How Hard Is It?

By Vanessa DeDominicis

What does “Estate Administration” actually mean? I often get asked this by my clients. Whenever someone passes away, his or her estate needs to be essentially “managed”. Estate administration basically involves gathering in the assets that the deceased held in his/her name, paying their debts, dealing with creditors, paying their taxes and dealing with CRA and then distributing the remaining assets.

Probate is generally only required where the registered authority that holds an asset in the deceased’s sole name (for example ICBC for vehicles, the bank for your money and the BC Land Titles Office for your real estate) will not accept instructions from the Executor to transfer those assets without first confirming the Executor’s authority to act on behalf of the deceased (which is the authorization from the Court that “Probate” provides).

From the date of death, to the due diligence process (gathering information on the deceased’s financial affairs/landholdings) to the actual filing of Probate with the Court can take anywhere from a month at best, to several months (especially if the deceased has a large portfolio of assets). Once Probate is applied for with the Court, it usually takes around 2 months for the Court to grant Probate. After Probate is granted, (say around 4 – 6 months after the date of death), there are then waiting periods before an Estate can be distributed to allow interested parties to make claims. Taxes also have to be dealt with and a final Clearance Certificate for the Estate should be issued by CRA. Estates with complex assets or disputes can take much longer to administer (several years).

So the Administration of an Estate really depends on the complexity of assets to administer.


This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to provide you with specific advice for your own situation. For more information real estate matters or estate planning, and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis on 250-869-1140 or dedominicis@pushormitchell.com Vanessa practices in the area of Real Estate and Wills & Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna and would be more than happy to assist you.