Core Legal Services

The definition of core legal services can be confusing, especially for those who have not dealt with an estate before. The main purpose of the term is to define the typical work a lawyer will perform on behalf of an executor, rather than work an executor is themselves responsible for. 

The term generally encompasses the work in gathering information about the estate, preparing court applications for probate/administration, and distributing property to the beneficiaries.

An excerpt from the Surrogate Act is provided below. This information was last updated August 22, 2020.

  1. Receiving instructions from the personal representatives.
  2. Giving the personal representatives information and advice on all matters in connection with the administration of the estate, including the following:
    1. the basis for the lawyer’s fees for the different categories of legal services;
    2. the basis for the personal representatives’ compensation and preparation of the proposed compensation schedule;
    3. providing a copy of this Schedule to the personal representatives.
  3. Reviewing the will or the provisions of Part 3 of the Wills and Succession Act with the personal representative.
  4. Receiving information from personal representatives about the following:
    1. the deceased;
    2. the beneficiaries;
    3. the estate property;
    4. the deceased’s debts;
    5. minors.
  5. Obtaining details of all the property and debts of the deceased for the purposes of an application to the court, including the following:
    1. the full nature and value of the property of the deceased as at the date of death including the value of all land and buildings and a summary of outstanding mortgages, leases and any other encumbrances;
    2. any pensions, annuities, death benefits and any other benefits;
    3. any debts owed by the deceased as at the date of death;
    4. preparing all required documents for grant applications;
    5. preparing notices to all beneficiaries;
    6. arranging for surviving spouse or surviving adult interdependent partner to receive notices under Part 5, Division 2 of the Wills and Succession Act and under the Family Property Act, if necessary;
    7. arranging for family members to receive notices under Part 5, Division 2 of the Wills and Succession Act, if necessary;
    8. attending on signing of application for grant, filing with the court, payment of fees and dealing with the clerk;
    9. advising the Public Trustee, if necessary;
    10. receiving the grant.
  6. Preparing documents to advertise for claimants, arranging for advertising and obtaining affidavit of publication.
  7. Preparing declarations of transmission and powers of attorney for stocks and bonds transferrable under the Alberta grant.
  8. Preparing transmission and transfer documents for land transferrable under the Alberta grant.
  9. Preparing all other documents required to transmit and transfer property transferrable under the Alberta grant.
  10. Advising the personal representatives on any trusts required by the will.
  11. Advising the personal representatives to prepare and file tax returns.
  12. Confirming receipt of clearance certificates from Revenue Canada.
  13. Submitting personal representatives’ financial statements for approval to the beneficiaries on an informal basis.
  14. Preparing releases and acknowledgments of trustee(s) and obtaining and filing them if so instructed by the personal representatives.
  15. Generally advising the personal representatives on all matters referred to in this Table.