My father died without a will. I'm told I need a grant of administration to deal with his affairs. How do I get that?

I gather it's a court application. Will I have to appear in court? Which forms do I need to apply?



Nanaimo, BC

When someone dies, their property must be dealt with. If they didn't leave a will, someone may need to apply to court for a grant of administration. It's a document issued by the court, giving the person the legal authority to deal with the deceased's estate. This includes distributing assets and paying off debts.

The law in BC sets out a priority order for who can apply for the grant of administration.

The procedure for applying for the grant is set out in the Supreme Court rules. There's a lot of paperwork involved. It's rare you'd have to appear before the court.

The process starts with giving notice of the proposed application, using court form P1. This notice document must be served on every person who may be entitled to receive a share of the estate — such as the deceased's spouse, children, grandchildren, or other relatives. Notice must be served at least 21 days before you make the grant application itself.  

In applying for the grant of administration, you must file the following documents in any probate registry of the BC Supreme Court:

  • Submission for estate grant, in court form P2. This form gives details about the grant application. Technically, you're applying for a grant of administration without will annexed.

  • Affidavit of the applicant for grant of administration without will annexed, in court form P5. This form identifies you and your relationship to the deceased.

  • Affidavit of delivery, in court form P9. This affidavit confirms that notice of the grant application was delivered to all persons to whom notice must be given.

  • Affidavit of assets and liabilities for domiciled estate grant, in court form P10. This form sets out all the deceased’s assets and liabilities.

  • Certificate of wills notice search. This is obtained by doing a search of the wills registry maintained by the provincial government’s Vital Statistics Agency.

  • Cheque for probate fees.

There might be additional documents or forms you need to file, depending on the circumstances. The BC government website has a list of probate forms.

A note about the court forms: If a form doesn’t open properly, try saving it to your device and opening it with Adobe Acrobat.

For more, see our step-by-step guidance on applying for a grant of administration, and tips on filling out the forms.

Stephen Hsia

Stephen Hsia

Miller Thomson
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2021

Also on this topic

Still not sure what to do?

If you're looking for advice specific to your situation, there are options for free or low-cost help.

Options for legal help

We are grateful to work on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, whose Peoples continue to live on and care for these lands.