Peter Gray - Victoria BC
RE/MAX Collection

Estates, Wills & Probate

The death of a parent or spouse is an emotional time for everyone involved, a time at which the stresses of administering paper work can be overwhelming. As a Realtor, Peter has supported many clients as they go through this tough period that can involve selling the family home, transfer of ownership and working with several parties. Usually, the house is the largest single asset that a person can own, so the proper process of dealing with this asset is of utmost importance. Peter is intimately acquainted with the process of guiding the sale of a property amidst the complicated backdrop of family upheaval. The tangle of administrative red tape can be simplified by the assistance of several professions, including lawyers, notaries, and property assessors. An experienced, professional Realtor is essential to the equation to assure fair and equitable dealing with all concerned parties over the sale of real estate assets. Peter has provided this professionalism to many families in his career, and provides the following information as a guide to some of the wording and the process.


A will is a document, conforming to the requirements of British Columbia law, that contains directions for the disposal or distribution of a person’s assets after his or her death. As such, there is often direct instructions on what to do with the family home. In the absence of a will, there are several legal mechanisms that address this situation and the dispersion of assets. As with all legal matters, proper legal representation is essential, whether there is a Will or not. The designated executor of the will usually hires a lawyer to deal with the primary concern of guiding the estate through probate and dispersion of assets. Depending on complexity, other parties may hire individual legal representation.

Estate and Executor:

An “Estate” is defined as all assets/possessions left by a person after his or her death. In the eyes of the law, ownership of all possessions within a person’s estate need to be transferred to beneficiaries. Quite often it is the family home that causes the most conflict and concern in the aftermath of a death in the family. The roll of a Realtor is very specific in these situations: they work for the beneficiaries of the Will as a group. As such, it may be the case that several parties are consulted for approval of pricing, countering offers and accepting offers for purchase.

An Executor is the person named in the will to take charge of disposing or distributing the estate according to the directions left by the deceased. One of the primary duties of the executor is to apply, when necessary, for a Grant of Probate to allow for the transfer of assets from the estate to the beneficiaries. It is also the executor that communicates the wishes of the beneficiaries directly to the Realtor.

Probate process

At the time of death there is generally a requirement that the last will and testament be legally approved by the courts under the laws of the province. The probate process also confirms the appointment of the executor, and each province specifies what documentation is required as part of the probate process.

Until this process is complete, it may not be possible for the executor to manage or distribute the assets of the estate. Typically, probate involves paperwork and court appearances by lawyers. Probate usually works like this: After death, the person named in the will as executor files papers in the local probate court. The executor proves the validity of the will and presents the court with lists of property, debts, and who is to inherit what is left.

Property left through a will usually must spend several months or a year tied up in probate court before it can be distributed to the people who inherit it.

As your Realtor, Peter can help guide you through this process, recommending other professionals as required and ensuring that your interests are represented fairly and legally.

-Peter Gray

The information contained herein has been posted in good faith and is to be used for educational purposes only. The author is not a legal professional, and this information should not be considered legal advice. This information should NOT be used to replace consultation with a lawyer or any other qualified expert.

Helpful Links: