Understanding Grants of Administration

When a person dies in Alberta without a Will, they are said to die “intestate.” If a thorough search for a Will turns up nothing and the estate has assets that need to be administered, a person may apply for a Grant of Administration so that those duties may be carried out.

Who May Be a Personal Representative?

Section 11(2) of the Surrogate Rules specify an order of preference when it comes to who may be a Personal Representative and apply for a Grant of Administration. Unless the court orders otherwise, the priority goes to the surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner of the deceased; followed by a child, grandchild, or similar descendant; a parent, sibling, niece or nephew who is an heir in intestacy, and so on.

Once the Personal Representative is appointed, they can apply to the court for administration. Once the grant is issued, the representative may distribute the estate in accordance with Alberta law.

What Is a Grant of Administration With Will Annexed?

The Personal Representative of the estate may apply for a Grant of Administration with Will Annexed under the following circumstances:

  • There is a Will, but it does not appoint a Personal Representative
  • A Representative is appointed, but he or she passed away before the Will could be updated and an alternate was not appointed
  • An alternate was appointed but they died
  • All of the named Personal Representatives in the Will were unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations

Like a standard Grant of Administration, the party with priority to apply is listed in the Surrogate Rules. Once the court issues the Grant of Administration with Will Annexed, the Personal Representative may proceed to administer the estate according to the law.

Resealing of Grants of Administration

When a Grant of Administration is obtained in one province, but the person who died has additional assets and property in another province or even another country, the local court in that location must confirm the grant, a process known as resealing. Personal Representatives should undertake the application with assistance from a lawyer, as it can be time-consuming and complicated.

If someone you love died intestate in Alberta or does not have a Personal Representative able or willing to act, contact Estate Connection for legal advice and guidance. Being a Personal Representative is challenging, but we can help you make it possible to settle the estate the way your loved one would have wanted.

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Written by Stacy Maurier