A frequently asked question from executors pertaining to securing a Grant of Probate or Administration is: ‘How long does the process take?’ (a close second to ‘What’s the cost?’). Thankfully, the era of drawn-out applications leading to postponed distributions to beneficiaries is mostly a thing of the past. Currently, over half of our probate applicants receive their approved grant within 30 days of their first consultation with our office – however it hasn’t always been that way.
In April 2022, the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta unveiled a new system for submitting and approving probate and administration grants in Alberta. This system, which came into effect on June 14, 2022, modernized the process by doing away with the old ‘NC Forms’ and introducing the simplified ‘GA Forms’. Furthermore, the new Surrogate Digital Service now enables members of the Law Society to file probate applications electronically, phasing out the traditional paper submissions.
Prior system was slow
Looking back, it’s helpful to gauge how far we’ve come. Before the changes, we analyzed all grant applications filed by Summit Legal Group at the Calgary Courthouse from January 1, 2021, to June 13, 2022. During that period, the average time between the Court ‘filing’ the application and notifying us of the grant’s approval was 89 calendar days. This, however, varied significantly with some applications getting approved in as short as 28 days and others taking as long as 193. In our experience, applications sent to the Edmonton Courthouse took longer than average to get approved while those sent to smaller city Courthouses (Lethbridge, Red Deer, etc.) usually received faster approvals.
Digital submissions are fast
Fast forward to today and the effects of the digital submission system are overwhelmingly positive for our clients. Probate applications processed during the first year of the digital service have seen an average turnaround of only 15 calendar days from the time the Clerk accepts the application until we receive approval. We’ve even seen approvals within 3 days, although we generally advise clients to anticipate 2 – 3 weeks.
Improvements with analog submissions too
On the other hand, not all applications are eligible for submission via the Alberta Court’s digital service, including all cases where the deceased did not leave a will, known as a grant of Administration, and a small percentage of probate applications. Nevertheless, the approval process has sped up here in Calgary too, with the average approval time now down to 78 calendar days – almost a two-week improvement on the old system.
With multiple lawyers in house, along with a Certified Executor Advisor, Summit Legal Group is uniquely qualified to assist you with all of your probate and estate administration needs. Please contact us and you’ll find out why we’ve earned more than 170 5-star google reviews.
Craig Gorham is a Certified Executor Advisor at Summit Legal Group, guiding clients through the Estate Administration process with compassion, empathy and a wealth of specialized knowledge. Craig can be reached directly at 587-393-2069 or email@example.com.