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Understanding Probate Fees in Newfoundland

In this article:

    Unless you're an estate lawyer, the term “probate” probably isn’t in your everyday vocabulary. In fact, probate is something many of us only encounter once we start estate planning or administering an estate. 

    This article will cover what probate is like in Newfoundland and Labrador, how fees are calculated, their impact on estate planning, and how to deal with probate if you’re an executor or administrator of an estate.

    🔢 Calculate probate fees for your estate

    What does it mean to probate a will in NL?

    Probate is the process where a court confirms that a person’s last will and testament is legally valid. Once that has been confirmed and the details of the estate have been reviewed, the court will administer a Letter of Probate, which is a document that gives the executor, the person responsible for administering the deceased's estate, the authority to distribute the assets as outlined in the will. 

    The easiest way to create your legal will in Newfoundland and Labrador. Start yours for free →

    If there is no will, then the court will appoint someone to act as the estate administrator instead. The administration will then follow Newfoundland and Labrador’s inheritance law to distribute the estate. 

    Everything you need to know about probate in Canada → 

    Does a will have to be probated in Newfoundland?

    Not all estates require probate, especially if the deceased had a will. In Newfoundland and Labrador, probate is typically based on the types of assets in the estate, meaning it’s more common when the estate is large or complex. 

    An estate is more likely to need probate if the deceased was the sole owner of property such as a home or bank account, or another third party requires a grant of probate for assets over a certain dollar amount to be moved. Probate may also be required if the deceased was a joint owner of a property whose total value or type of ownership is difficult to determine. 

    What are probate fees?

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, probate fees, also called probate tax or estate administration tax, are an important part of the probate process. They are paid from the estate to The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador when someone begins the process of confirming a will or applying for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee.

    The fees cover the costs the court incurs to process the documents involved in administering your estate.

    Calculating probate fees in Newfoundland

    If probate is necessary for the estate in question, probate fees are calculated based on the total value of the estate. Each provincial court has its own way of calculating fees

    How much does it cost to probate a will in NL?

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, any estates valued at $1,000 or less are subject to a flat fee of $60. For estates worth more, there is a fee of $0.60 for every additional $100.

    Value of Estate Court Filing Fee
    Under $1,000 $60
    $1,000+ $0.60 for every $100

    Fees valid as of February, 2023, accessed from the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

    Probate Fees Calculator

    Newfoundland and Labrador Probate Fee Calculator

    The probate process in Newfoundland

    The probate process in Newfoundland and Labrador is very similar to that of other provinces in Canada, but no two provinces are the same in terms of how long the process takes. Estate settlement works on a case-by-case basis, which is why probate exists!

    How does probate work in Newfoundland?

    Here are the general first steps involved in administering an estate, starting the probate process, and tackling probate laws in Newfoundland.

    1. Determine if there is a will or not

    If there is a will and an appointed executor, the executor will need to locate it to begin the process of probate and go through the steps of administering the estate. They might need to consult the Canada Will Registry to find its location.

    If there is no will, the court will appoint an estate administrator who will act as a replacement for an executor. 

    Note: Will registration makes it much easier for your loved ones to find your will after you’ve passed away, but only 1 in 2 Canadians register their wills. If you have a will, make sure to register it!

    2. Prepare a probate application

    The application process for probate differs from province to province. In Newfoundland and Labrador, assuming there is both a will and an appointed executor, the executor would need to apply for a grant of probate. 

    Preparing for the grant of probate involves gathering and submitting important information about the person who passed away and their estate. Some of this information includes:

    • The deceased’s name
    • The deceased’s marital status
    • The deceased’s occupation at their time of death
    • The deceased’s age at the time of executing their will
    • List of the names and addresses of any beneficiaries named in the will
    • Approximate value of the estate

    3. Apply for probate with the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador

    Once the executor has collected all the relevant information, they will submit the following documents to the courts and pay any corresponding filling and probate fees:

    • Application for grant of probate
    • The will
    • An affidavit from the executor
    • An affidavit from a witness to the will
    • An inventory of the estate
    • An oath from the executor
    • A draft order

    4. Receive Letters of Probate

    Once the probate application has been reviewed by a judge and confirmed to be in order, Letters of Probate will be granted. This document signifies that the will is confirmed and the executor has the authority to administer the estate. 

    Implications for will creation and estate planning

    Can you avoid probate fees without a will? 

    No. In fact, without a will, the probate process is almost guaranteed because then an administrator must be appointed by the courts to settle the estate. 

    If probate fees feel intimidating, it’s important to remember that the executor or administrator doesn’t pay probate court fees out of pocket. Fees are paid out of the estate itself.

    Why should I choose an executor if the government can appoint an administrator for me? 

    Naming your executor in your will gives you the power to choose who will be responsible for taking care of your estate. If you do not choose one, the administrator the courts appoint will administer your estate instead, and that person may not be someone you would have wanted to act in this role.

    It’s also important to remember that your executor distributes your gifts to your beneficiaries, interacts with your loved ones, and implements your funeral and burial wishes. Wouldn’t you rather someone you trust to take on such an important role?

    Creating a will in Newfoundland

    Making a will gives you the power to choose who administers your estate, how your estate is distributed, and who takes care of your dependents. And online will creation and estate planning in Newfoundland and Labrador is easier and more affordable than you think! 

    With an online will platform like Willful, you can make a legal will in just 20 minutes and save thousands of dollars compared to a lawyer. 

    Start yours today →

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